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Blocking Autophagy with Malaria Drug May Help Overcome Resistance to Melanoma BRAF Drugs

Blocking Autophagy with Malaria Drug May Help Overcome Resistance to Melanoma BRAF Drugs | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Half of melanoma patients with the BRAF mutation have a positive response to treatment with BRAF inhibitors, but nearly all of those patients develop resistance to the drugs and experience disease progression.


"Now, a new preclinical study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Investigation from Penn Medicine researchers found that in many cases the root of the resistance may lie in a never-before-seen autophagy mechanism induced by the BRAF inhibitors vermurafenib and dabrafenib. Autophagy is a process by which cancer cells recycle essential building blocks to fuel further growth. Block this pathway with the antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine [sic] (HCQ), the authors found, and the BRAF inhibitors will be able to do their job better...


"Based on these promising preclinical results, Dr. Amaravadi and his team have already launched a clinical trial for patients with advanced BRAF mutant melanoma to see how well-tolerated HCQ is with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib. 'So far,' he said, 'we are seeing a benefit to patients and low toxicity.' "

Cancer Commons's insight:

Medical Xpress  |  Feb 24, 2014

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Making Melanomas Eat Themselves

Making Melanomas Eat Themselves | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Compared to normal moles, melanomas have low levels of a protein that may protect against cancer. The protein is called ATG5, and is linked to a process called autophagy that lets abnormal cells 'eat' themselves. In a new study that followed 158 people with melanomas that had not spread, tumors with low levels of ATG5 were more likely to get worse. The researchers also found that, when they added the gene most commonly mutated in melanomas (BRAF) to melanocytes grown in the lab, this normally made these cells eat themselves. However, decreasing ATG5 made these melanoma-like cells divide instead. These findings suggest that increasing ATG5 in early melanomas could make them eat themselves.


Cancer Commons's insight:

Medical Xpress│Sep 12, 2013

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