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New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful

New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Drugs that unleash the body’s immune system to combat tumors could allow patients with advanced melanoma to live far longer than ever before, researchers gathered at the nation’s largest cancer conference say.


“ 'It’s a completely different world for patients with metastatic melanoma, to talk about the majority of patients being alive for years rather than weeks or months,' said Dr. Jedd D. Wolchok, a melanoma specialist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, interviewed at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here."


Editor's note: This is a good exploration of immunotherapy treatments for melanoma; immunotherapy for lung cancer is also discussed.

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Melanoma Vaccine Fizzles in Phase III Trial

Melanoma Vaccine Fizzles in Phase III Trial | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

New results from an ongoing clinical trial suggest that an experimental vaccine may not keep melanomas from coming back after all. The vaccine targets tumors that express a gene called MAGE-A3, which is active in 65% of melanomas that have begun to spread. However, researchers will continue the phase III trial because even though this treatment does not work on melanomas broadly, it could still control a tumor subtype with a particular mutation. The results of the continued study are expected in 2015. In addition, the MAGE-A3 vaccine is being tested against non-small cell lung cancer in another phase III trial, and initial findings are expected in 2014.

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Reuters│Sep 5, 2013

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Experimental PD-1 Blocker May Work Across Cancer Types

Experimental PD-1 Blocker May Work Across Cancer Types | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Results of a phase I clinical trial suggest that a new immunotherapy drug called MPDL3280A could control a wide range of cancers. Manufactured by Roche Genentech, MPDL3280A is one of several promising but experimental drugs that block PD-1, a cell surface protein that disguises tumor cells from our immune systems. The study included 140 people with different kinds of tumors (melanoma as well as colorectal, gastric, kidney, and non-small cell lung cancers) that had resisted other treatments. Tumors shrank in 21% of those treated with MPDL3280A, particularly people with melanoma or lung cancer. These findings were presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. While still in the very early stages of research, targeting tumors with our own immune systems has great potential to work across many different cancer types and to keep them in check longer than current treatments, say researchers, giving new hope to people with cancer.

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Science Daily│Jun 3, 2013

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Science Daily│Jun 3, 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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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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OncLive  |  Feb 7, 2014

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OncLive  |  Feb 7, 2014

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Cancer Guidelines Don’t Measure Up to IOM Standards for Clinical Practice

Cancer Guidelines Don’t Measure Up to IOM Standards for Clinical Practice | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine laid out standards for clinical practice, in the hopes of ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care. Among the standards are disclosing conflicts of interests, using systematic reviews of the literature, seeking external review and regularly updating recommendations. A new study examined 169 clinical practice guidelines of the four leading causes of cancer death in the U.S. (lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast) to see how well they met the IOM’s standards. The results were discouraging; the average guidelines met just 2.75 of the 8 major criteria, and only 8.24 of 20 sub-criteria. However, the researchers who performed the investigation said that the guidelines were still very strong, and questioned the pragmatism of the standards drawn up by the IOM, which could be overly strict.

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Medical News Today | Jun 14, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jun 14, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jun 14, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jun 14, 2013

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Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment

Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recently completed clinical trial examining the use of genetic testing to direct cancer treatment was able to exceed its enrollment goal of 600 participants in less than 2 years instead of the expected 5 years. Patients were willing to participate even though they had to undergo an additional biopsy, revealing considerable interest in personalized treatment based on genetic tests. The trial confirmed that erlotinib (Tarceva) is highly effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a mutation in the EGFR gene. It also found that NSCLC patients with mutations in the KRAS gene did not benefit from the novel cancer drug selumetinib. In contrast, not enough small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients had any of the investigated mutations to properly test how they responded to treatments. Such mutations will require trials involving thousands of patients to draw reliable conclusions.

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013