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ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma

ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Two studies indicate that using investigative immunotherapy drugs improves survival and response in patients with metastatic melanoma, researchers said here.


"In one study, the agent pembrolizumab (MK-3475) which targets the programmed death (PD-1) pathway produced a 1-year 69% survival rate, said Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.


"In a second study reported in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mario Sznol, MD, professor of medicine at the Yale Cancer Center, demonstrated that a combination of the investigative PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab in combination with another targeted agent ipilimumab (Yervoy) produced a 1-year survival rate of 85% and 2-year survival rate of 79% for advanced melanoma patients."


Editor's note: Immunotherapy drugs boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Promising research into new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma was recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Two treatments that received special attention were MK-3475 (aka pembrolizumab) and a combination of the drugs ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab.

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MedPage Today  |  Jun 5, 2014

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Business: Washington Post Business Page, Business News

"Kim Sherman was in bad shape a year ago after a lemon-sized melanoma tumor in her pelvis stopped responding to standard targeted therapy. By late June 2013, the pain from the mass pressing on her hamstring became so bad she could hardly sleep, walk, or even sit down.

"Then she joined a trial on an experimental drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. designed to boost the immune system against her tumor when used in combination with the company’s existing immune enhancing drug Yervoy. Within three weeks the pain started to subside, and within three months later the tumor disappeared. Her doctor at Yale Cancer Center in New Haven may stop therapy entirely in a few weeks, she said."

Editor's note: This article discusses immunotherapy treatments, which boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy for melanoma in The Basics.

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The Washington Post  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Immunotherapy Shows Promise Against Melanoma

Immunotherapy Shows Promise Against Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"By unleashing the immune system to attack skin cancer, researchers have made important strides against melanoma, according to the results of three clinical trials released Monday.


"The first study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting showed patients given a drug called Yervoy (ipilimumab), made by Bristol Myers-Squibb, saw a 25 percent reduced risk of the cancer coming back when compared to a placebo."


Editor's note: Immunotherapy treatments, which boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer, were a big topic this past weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. This article provides an overview of some new findings in immunotherapy for melanoma.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Biomarker Identifies Melanoma Patients Who May Respond to Immunotherapy MK-3475

Biomarker Identifies Melanoma Patients Who May Respond to Immunotherapy MK-3475 | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Among melanoma patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor MK-3475, those whose tumors had the protein PD-L1 had better immune responses and higher survival rates, according to results presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, April 5-9.


"When the protein PD-L1, which is present on some melanoma tumors, binds to PD-1, a protein present on T cells, "brakes" are applied on these T cells, preventing them from attacking the cancer cells. The immunotherapy MK-3475 blocks PD-1, releasing the brakes on T cells and enabling them to attack the cancer cells."


Editor's note: This story is about a drug called MK-3475 (aka lambrolizumab), which boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It has shown promising results in clinical trials. Learn more about MK-3475 in this blog post.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 7, 2014

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Merck Applies for FDA License for Promising Experimental PD-1 Blocker (MK-3475)

Merck Applies for FDA License for Promising Experimental PD-1 Blocker (MK-3475) | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

People with melanoma could have a new treatment option soon ─ Merck is applying for a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) license for a new experimental immunotherapy for this skin cancer. Called MK-3475, the treatment blocks a protein (PD-1) that lets tumor cells evade the immune system. The FDA fast-tracked its review of MK-3475 in 2013 on the strength of clinical trials showing that this drug may extend life in people with melanoma by a year. Merck says the FDA application should be complete in the first half of 2014.

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Merck  |  Jan 13, 2014

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PD-1 Blocker Extends Life in People with Melanoma in Early Trial

PD-1 Blocker Extends Life in People with Melanoma in Early Trial | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

An experimental immunotherapy may keep people with melanoma alive for up to 1 year, according to findings presented at the 2013 International Congress of the Society for Melanoma Research in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drug (MK-3475) blocks a protein, called PD-1, that lets cancer cells evade the immune system. Researchers treated 135 people with MK-3475 and found that tumors shrank in 40% and disappeared in 9%. Altogether, this drug is being tested in more than 3,000 people with melanoma or breast, bladder, colorectal, or lung cancer. In addition, another experimental PD-1 blocker called nivolumab is being tested alone and in combination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Yervoy (ipilimumab) against melanoma and blood, breast, gastric, kidney, liver, lung, and pancreatic cancers.

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Bloomberg | Nov 18, 2013

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FDA Speeds Review of Experimental Immunotherapy for Melanoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fast-tracked the review of lambrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug for melanoma being developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck. Lambrolizumab, also called MK-3475, disrupts a protein called PD-1 that allows tumor cells to evade the immune system. The expedited review was granted on the strength of promising early results from a clinical trial: tumors shrank in half of those treated with lambrolizumab (43 out of 85), and disappeared in another 9%. Encouragingly, tumors also shrank in 11 of the 27 patients (41%) who had previously been treated with ipilimumab, another immunotherapy drug that is currently used to treat melanomas that have spread. Clinical trials with lambrolizumab are also underway for other types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

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RX Times │ Apr 24, 2013

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Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug

Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable.


"They say their findings, being presented June 2 at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), offered several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is a promising new immunotherapy drug that boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It works very well for some patients, and not so well for others. New research shows that doctors may be able to predict whether MK-3475 will work well or not based on the size of a patient's tumors before treatment. Patients who had a large total volume of tumors were less likely to respond well to the drug, no matter where in the body those tumors were found.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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MK3475 Induced High Rates of Durable Responses in Advanced Melanoma

MK3475 Induced High Rates of Durable Responses in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A majority of patients with advanced melanoma who had and had not received previous ipilimumab demonstrated durable responses with the PD-1 targeted antibody MK-3475, according to study results presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'This is the largest phase 1 clinical trial ever conducted in this disease, and together with a lung cancer cohort, this is the largest phase 1 trial ever done in oncology,' study investigator Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, said during a press conference. 'These are early data, but they tell us we are on to something really important.' ”


Editor's note: The cancer drug MK-3475 is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. This story describes a clinical trial that tested MK-3475 on volunteer patients with advanced melanoma, and found good results for a majority of the patients. Some of the patients had previously been treated with the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) and some had not; both kinds of patients benefited from MK-3475 in the trial.

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Healio  |  Jun 3, 2014

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FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review

FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has granted Merck’s anti-PD1 antibody MK-3475 a priority review designation for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients who have previously been treated with ipilimumab. Priority review status is reserved for drugs considered to offer a significant improvement in the safety or efficacy of the treatment of a serious condition. It will shorten the drug’s FDA review period from 10 months to 6 months."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is an immunotherapy drug that works by boosting a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Once it is approved by the FDA for unresectable or metastatic melanoma, doctors in the U.S. will be able to prescribe it to their patients outside of the clinical trial system.

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Anti-PD-1 Antibody MK-3475 Advances Into Multiple Tumor Types

Anti-PD-1 Antibody MK-3475 Advances Into Multiple Tumor Types | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Merck announced the signing of three separate clinical collaboration agreements to evaluate the potential of its investigational anti-PD-1 immunotherapy MK-3475 across multiple tumor types.  The agreements, of which financial terms were not disclosed, were signed through subsidiaries with Amgen Inc., Incyte Corporation, and Pfizer Inc.

"As part of the new collaborations, Merck will begin several clinical trials. In these phase I/II studies, MK-3475 will be explored in combination with axitinib in renal cell carcinoma, talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) in previously untreated advanced melanoma, the immunotherapy INCB24360 in previously treated metastatic recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and PF-2566 in multiple cancer types. Separate from these collaborations, Merck announced that the safety and efficacy of MK-3475 monotherapy would be evaluated in a phase I “signal finding” study in 20 PD-L1-positive solid tumor types not previously studied."

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OncLive  |  Feb 7, 2014

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New Immunotherapy Is Promising in Early Trial

New Immunotherapy Is Promising in Early Trial | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Blocking a protein that protects tumor cells may shrink melanomas, according to results from an ongoing trial that were presented at the 10th International Congress of the Society for Melanoma Research in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Called PD-L1, the protein shields tumor cells from the immune system and it can be blocked by a drug called MPDL3280A. The phase I trial included 45 people with melanoma who were treated with the PD-L1 blocker, and tumors shrank in one-third of them. This PD-L1 blocker is also being tested in a phase I trial in combination with the BRAF inhibitor drug vemurafenib, as well as in several phase II trials against renal cell carcinoma and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition, two drugs similar to this PD-L1 blocker (nivolumab and MK-3475) are being tested in phase III trials against melanoma.

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Cancer Network│Nov 19, 2013

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Fast-Tracked Immunotherapy Drug Still Promising for Melanoma

Encouraging results are in from the first clinical trial of lambrolizumab, an experimental immunotherapy drug that was granted a speedy review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April. Formerly known as MK-3475, lambrolizumab blocks a protein (PD-1) that lets tumor cells evade the immune system. The researchers treated 135 people with melanomas that had spread, giving some a lower dose and others a higher dose of the new drug. The study showed that tumors shrank in 38% of all those treated and in 52% of those treated with the higher dose. While the side effects were generally mild, 13% of those treated had more serious reactions, such as thyroid problems or lung or kidney inflammation. This clinical trial is currently recruiting new participants.

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New England Journal of Medicine│Jun 2, 2013

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