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Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication."

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Healio  |  May 13, 2014

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So few survivors are being screened for anxiety and depression - which impact quality of life.  It's important for survivors and caregivers to be aware of these ten things and communicate with healthcare providers when necessary.

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Japan Approves World's First PD-1 Drug, Nivolumab

Japan Approves World's First PD-1 Drug, Nivolumab | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Ono Pharmaceutical Co has become the first company in the world to get an approval for a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, as regulators in Japan gave the green light to nivolumab, developed with Bristol-Myers Squibb, as a treatment for melanoma.

"The drug will be marketed as Opdivo for unresectable melanoma although Ono noted that because of the very limited number of patients treated with nivolumab in Japanese clinical trials, the firm is required to perform a 'post-marketing use-results survey covering all cases until data on a certain minimum number of patients have been accumulated'."


Editor's note: The drug nivolumab is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Nivolumab is a specific kind of immunotherapy drug known as a "PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor," since it works by releasing a protein "brake" on the immune system called PD-1. Researchers testing the drug in volunteer patients have found promising results, and Japan has now given the world's first approval to nivolumab, permitting doctors across the country to prescribe it to people with unresectable melanoma.

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PharmaTimes  |  Jul 7, 2014

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UPDATE 1-Bristol Immunotherapy Prolongs Survival in Melanoma Trial

"A late-stage trial testing Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's cancer immunotherapy nivolumab in advanced melanoma patients was halted early after it was determined that the drug was likely to prolong survival, the company said on Tuesday..."


"The 418-patient Phase III study, called CheckMate -066, was testing nivolumab as an initial, or first line, therapy for patients with advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer."


Editor's note: In a clinical trial with volunteer melanoma patients, researchers have been testing a new drug called nivolumab to see if it is a good first treatment for people with advanced melanoma. Nivolumab is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. In the clinical trial, some of the patients were being treated with nivolumab, and some with a standard chemotherapy drug called dacarbazine. Nivolumab showed so much better results than dacarbazine that the trial was ended early, and the patients who had been taking dacarbazine were switched to nivolumab.

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Reuters  |  Jun 24, 2014

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'Feel-Good Hormones' Make Sun Exposure Addictive, Study Suggests

'Feel-Good Hormones' Make Sun Exposure Addictive, Study Suggests | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"When the sun is shining, many of us are unable to resist a trip to the beach to soak up the rays, despite recommendations that we should cover up to reduce the risk of skin cancer. And now, researchers have discovered why; ultraviolet radiation from the sun releases endorphins - "feel-good" hormones - that act like a drug, making exposure to sunlight addictive."

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Medical News Today  |  Jun 20, 2014

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Study Offers Evidence that Sunscreen Use in Childhood Prevents Melanoma in Adults

Study Offers Evidence that Sunscreen Use in Childhood Prevents Melanoma in Adults | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Research conducted at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma, has established unequivocally in a natural animal model that the incidence of malignant melanoma in adulthood can be dramatically reduced by the consistent use of sunscreen in infancy and childhood.


"According to senior author John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., the research was driven by the fact that, despite the increasing use of sunscreen in recent decades, the incidence of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, continues to increase dramatically. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 75,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year."

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 19, 2014

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Vitamin D Blog: Do Low Levels Raise Cancer Death Rates?

Vitamin D Blog: Do Low Levels Raise Cancer Death Rates? | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Low levels of vitamin D were associated with higher cancer mortality in people with a history of cancer, a study found.


"Based on a meta-analysis, low 25(OH) vitamin D levels were tied to a risk ratio of 1.70 (95% CI 1.00-2.88) in cancer patients with a disease history. Inadequate vitamin D levels also were linked to an increase in all-cause mortality (RR 1.57, 95% CI 1.36-1.81) and cardiovascular mortality (RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.18-1.68), reported Ben Schöttker, PhD, of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and colleagues in BMJ."

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MedPage Today  |  Jun 17, 2014

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What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year

What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Having cancer is bad enough. And the lifetime consequences have been well-documented — a higher risk of other cancers, heart disease and general weakness from the treatment.


"Now a new federal study shows there’s a financial burden too — on average, $4,000 a year for men and $3,000 for women over and above what people who haven’t had cancer spend.


"And that’s just direct medical costs. Cancer survivors also have thousands in lost productivity, from having to cut work hours or even quit their jobs, the report finds."

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NBC News  |  Jun 12, 2014

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NBC News  |  Jun 12, 2014

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NICE Proposes Ipilimumab as a First Treatment for Advanced Skin Cancer

NICE Proposes Ipilimumab as a First Treatment for Advanced Skin Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"People with advanced skin cancer should be able to receive ipilimumab as a first treatment, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposes.


"In final draft guidance, NICE recommends that the drug ipilimumab (also called Yervoy and manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Limited) is made available on the NHS as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced malignant melanoma which is either unresectable (when the full tumour cannot be removed) or metastatic (the cancer has spread to other parts of the body).


"Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: 'We already recommend ipilimumab as a second-line treatment and so we are pleased to be able to propose extending that recommendation to first line treatment too.' "


Editor's note: The UK's public healthcare system is required to provide funding for treatments recommended by NICE. To learn more about targeted melanoma drugs like ipilimumab, read The Basics.

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NICE  |  Jun 12, 2014

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Shared Decision Making Missing in Cancer Screening Discussions

Shared Decision Making Missing in Cancer Screening Discussions | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A national survey of patients reveals that physicians don't always fully discuss the risks and benefits of cancer screening, reports a new study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


"The study examined data from more than 1100 people aged 50 and older who made decisions about whether to undergo screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or prostate cancer in the previous 2 years. Participants were asked whether their physicians discussed the pros and cons of screening and of forgoing screening, and if they had been given a choice whether or not to be screened."

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 13, 2014

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Experimental Leukaemia Drug Boosts Immune Response Against Other Cancers

Experimental Leukaemia Drug Boosts Immune Response Against Other Cancers | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Experimental drugs being tested in clinical trials for leukaemia may also boost the body’s immune response against other forms of cancer, according to research from University College London (UCL).


"The drugs target an important protein called p110δ, produced in large amounts in white blood cells called ‘leukocytes’.


"Leukaemias can develop if leukocytes become cancerous, making p110δ a promising target for treating this form of cancer.


"And recent clinical trials using these drugs have shown encouraging results. But until now the potential benefit of these drugs for other types of cancer had remained unexplored.


"In the latest study, published in Nature, researchers working with mice bearing solid tumours found that the drugs - called p110δ inhibitors - helped boost their immune response against a range of tumour types – including breast cancer."


Editor's note: Scientists have tested new drugs in mice with a variety of tumor types, including breast cancer, and found that the drugs may help the mice fight off cancer. These drugs are already being used in humans in clinical trials for leukemia, so it might not be long before scientists try the drugs in volunteer patients with other types of cancer.

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Cancer Research UK  |  Jun 11, 2014

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Cancer Research UK  |  Jun 11, 2014

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New Clues to Skin Cancer Development Show Sunscreen is Not Enough

New Clues to Skin Cancer Development Show Sunscreen is Not Enough | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Scientists have shown that sunscreen cannot be relied upon alone to prevent malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to research* published in Nature.


"The work supports the approach taken by public health campaigns that call for people to use a combination of shade and clothing to protect their skin, applying sunscreen to the areas you can't cover.


"The research explains more about the mechanism by which UV light leads to melanoma and also explores the extent to which sunscreen is able to prevent UV light from damaging healthy cells."

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 12, 2014

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PV-10 Produced Complete Response in 50% of Advanced Melanoma Patients

"Half of patients with locally advanced cutaneous melanoma who had all their lesions injected with the investigational agent PV-10 achieved a complete response in a phase 2 study, according to a presentation at the 50th American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, held in Chicago, IL, May 30th to June 2nd."

Editor's note: PV-10 is a new drug that can be injected directly into a cutaneous melanoma tumor. In a recent clinical trial testing the drug on volunteers, half of all patients who had all of their tumors injected experienced complete disappearance of their tumors.

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Medical News Today  |  Jun 10, 2014

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Sex, Age, Race Affected SCC Risk Among Melanoma Patients

Sex, Age, Race Affected SCC Risk Among Melanoma Patients | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Approximately 12% of patients with melanoma developed subsequent squamous cell carcinoma, and the occurrence was more common among men, whites, older patients and those with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, according to recent study results.


"Researchers studied 6,378 Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) members (mean age, 60.9 years; 56.6% men) who received a melanoma diagnosis between 2000 and 2005. The patients were followed through 2009, with 1,462 meeting criteria for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) pathology review. There were 766 patients with defined SCC (69.7% men)."

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Healio  |  Jun 2, 2014

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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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PD-1 Antibody Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Metastatic Melanoma

PD-1 Antibody Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Heavily pretreated patients with metastatic melanoma who received the humanized anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody pidilizumab demonstrated encouraging rates of 12-month OS, according to results of a phase 2 study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'Activity was previously seen [with pidilizumab] in two lymphoma populations in phase 2 studies,' researcher Michael B. Atkins, MD, deputy director of Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, and professor of oncology and medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, said during a presentation. 'Correlative studies in those lymphoma populations supported a PD-1/PD-L1–linked mechanism of action, and importantly there was no change or an increase in PD-1–positive CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes and CD14 monocytes following the drug, excludingantibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of PD-1–positive cells as a consequence of therapy.' "


Editor's note: Pidilizumab is a new drug that that might benefit people with metastatic melanoma who have already been heavily treated. A recent clinical trial testing it in volunteer patients found some promising results, but further studies will be needed to see how to use pidilizumab most effectively, in terms of dosage and combining it with other drugs. Pidilizumab is an "anti-PD-1" immunotherapy, meaning that it interacts with a protein called PD-1 to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy treatments for melanoma at our Need to Know blog.

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Healio  |  Jun 24, 2014

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FDA Warns Docetaxel May Cause Alcohol Intoxication Symptoms After Treatment

FDA Warns Docetaxel May Cause Alcohol Intoxication Symptoms After Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has issued an alert to health care professionals that docetaxel contains ethanol, which may cause patients to experience intoxication during and after treatment.


"The FDA is currently revising the labels of all docetaxel drug products to warn about this potential risk. Health care professionals should consider the alcohol content of docetaxel when prescribing or administering the drug to patients, especially in those whom alcohol intake should be avoided or reduced and when using it concomitantly with other medications."

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Healio  |  Jun 20, 2014

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New Tool Predicts Financial Pain for Cancer Patients

New Tool Predicts Financial Pain for Cancer Patients | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In an online report in the journal Cancer, a team of University of Chicago cancer specialists have described the first tool—11 questions, assembled and refined from conversations with more than 150 patients with advanced cancer—to measure a patient’s risk for, and ability to tolerate, financial stress. The researchers refer to the expense, anxiety, and loss of confidence confronting cancer patients who face large, unpredictable costs, often compounded by decreased ability to work, as “financial toxicity,” and they have named their patient-reported outcome measure COST (COmprehensive Score for financial Toxicity)."

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The ASCO Post  |  Jun 20, 2014

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Survival Compared for Treatments of Uncommon Eye Cancer

Survival Compared for Treatments of Uncommon Eye Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In patients with advanced uveal melanoma, treatment with the agent selumetinib, compared with chemotherapy, resulted in an improved cancer progression-free survival time and tumor response rate, but no improvement in overall survival, according to a study. The modest improvement in clinical outcomes was accompanied by a high rate of adverse events."


Editor's note: Selumetinib is a targeted drug that may benefit people with ocular melanoma. In a recent clinical trial to test the drug in volunteer patients, selumetinib was compared to standard chemotherapy. More patients treated with selumetinib experienced tumor shrinkage than those treated with chemotherapy, and patients treated with selumetinib experienced a longer lag time (about 4 months, compared to 2 months) before their cancer progressed. However, there was no difference in overall survival between patients treated with selumetinib and patients treated with standard chemotherapy. Unfortunately, almost all of the patients who took selumetinib experienced adverse side effects.

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 17, 2014

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Acral Melanoma Tumors May Require More Aggressive Surgical Treatment

Acral Melanoma Tumors May Require More Aggressive Surgical Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Acral melanoma was found to have higher recurrence and lower survival rates than other types of melanoma and may require more aggressive surgical intervention, according to researchers.


"The researchers selected patients from a prospectively enrolled cohort of primary melanoma patients at NYU Langone Medical Center; 61 patients with acral melanoma and 183 patients with non-acral melanoma were included. Median follow-up was 33 months in the acral melanoma cohort and 58 months in the non-acral melanoma cohort."

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Healio  |  Jun 11, 2014

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An Innovative Pain Treatment Will be Tested in One of the Largest Clinical Trials in Cancer Pain

"More than 500 patients who suffer from severe chronic pain related to cancer can participate in one of the largest trials in cancer pain in 145 hospitals spread over 21 countries worldwide.


"Many cancer patients suffer from severe chronic pain related to their cancer. Unfortunately many of these patients are not satisfied with their current treatment options for the management of their pain due to the limitations of these treatments.[1] The German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal is investigating the efficacy and safety of the new analgesic cebranopadol for the treatment of severe chronic pain and peripheral neuropathic pain. Patients suffering from cancer-related severe pain are encouraged to check if they qualify to participate in a large cancer pain phase III trial, the so-called CORAL trial. The CORAL trial aims to show that the investigational drug cebranopadol can provide equally strong analgesia as a standard strong opioid in cancer patients while causing considerably fewer side effects. As the first trial of cebranopadol's phase III clinical program, referred to as the OCEANIC PROGRAM(R), Grünenthal will start the CORAL trial in 145 hospitals spread over 21 countries, including the United Kingdom. More than 500 patients are planned to complete this trial by 2016. More information about the CORAL trial and participating hospitals is available athttp://www.oceanic-program.com."


Editor's note: Clinical trials are research studies with volunteer patients. Learn more about them.

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Medical News Today  |  Jun 11, 2014

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Uutilizing Genetic Health Care Professional Reduces Unnecessary Testing, Study Shows

Uutilizing Genetic Health Care Professional Reduces Unnecessary Testing, Study Shows | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A new Moffitt Cancer Center study published Thursday in Genetics in Medicine shows that counseling from a genetic health care provider before genetic testing educates patients and may help reduce unnecessary procedures.


"Up to 10 percent of cancers are inherited, meaning a person was born with an abnormal gene that increases their risk for cancer. "Pre-test genetic counseling in which a health care provider takes a thorough family history and discusses the potential risks and benefits of genetic testing is standard of care as recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and National Society of Genetic Counselors," said Tuya Pal, M.D., a board-certified geneticist at Moffitt and senior author of the paper."

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 13, 2014

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A Wide Variety of Cancers Imaged and Treated with New Tumor-Targeting Agent

"Scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) report that a new class of tumor-targeting agents can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, even illuminating brain cancer stem cells that resist current treatments.


"What's more, years of animal studies and early human clinical trials show that this tumor-targeting, alkylphosphocholine (APC) molecule can deliver two types of 'payloads' directly to cancer cells: a radioactive or fluorescent imaging label, or a radioactive medicine that binds and kills cancer cells.


"The results are reported in today's issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, and featured in the journal's cover illustration and podcast."


Editor's note: This story discusses a new method to make cancer cells visible to oncologists, and to deliver drugs directly to cells. The method uses a molecule called APC, which makes a beeline for cancer cells and can deliver imaging labels or radiotherapy treatments.

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Medical News Today  |  Jun 13, 2014

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Cancer Patients Assail Insurer Policies on Costly Drugs

Five patient advocacy groups for diseases including cancer and AIDS urged the U.S. to force Obamacare insurers to lower co-payments on costly drugs, saying some plans discriminate against people with serious illness.


"Representatives of the groups, which acknowledged receiving funding from pharmaceutical companies, spoke today at an event organized by the industry’s Washington-based lobbyists. That group released a study showing that 60 percent of mid-level plans on the new health exchanges placed multiple sclerosis and cancer drugs on tiers with the highest level of co-payments, in many cases requiring 30 percent of the price or more."

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Bloomberg  |  Jun 11, 2014

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Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma

Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Adjuvant ipilimumab significantly improved RFS compared with placebo among patients with resected stage III melanoma who were at high risk for recurrence, according to the final analysis of a phase 3 study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'Although there are approved adjuvant therapies, they are still to be improved, and this is clearly an unmet need,' researcher Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, director general of the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris in France, said during a press conference. 'Ipilimumab is the first drug approved for metastatic melanoma, based on a proven impact on OS. This is the first trial ever with a drug that had an improvement in OS in metastatic melanoma.' "


Editor's note: Patients with advanced melanoma who have their tumors removed by surgery ("resected") can be at high risk for recurrence of their cancer. In a clinical trial with volunteer patients, researchers are testing an "adjuvant" treatment meant to prevent recurrence. All patients had resected stage III melanoma. It was found that patients who took the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) after resection had a significantly greater amount of time pass before recurrence than patients who took a placebo. Further follow-up of the patients will reveal effects on overall survival.

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Healio  |  Jun 10, 2014

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Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

"A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients' chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer's risk of metastasizing from a blood sample -- the long-sought-after liquid biopsy."

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 9, 2014

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Prolonged Fasting 'Re-Boots' Immune System

Prolonged Fasting 'Re-Boots' Immune System | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Results of a new study on mice and a phase 1 trial of humans suggest that prolonged cycles of fasting - for 2-4 days at a time - not only protect against toxic effects of chemotherapy, but also trigger stem cell regeneration of new immune cells and clearing out of old, damaged cells.


"The study, by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, and published in the journalCell Stem Cell, is the first to show that a natural intervention can trigger regeneration of an organ or system through stem cells.


"The team believes the findings could benefit people with immune system damage, for example if they have received chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It could also benefit the elderly whose immune systems are weakened through aging, making them more susceptible to disease."

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Medical News Today  |  Jun 6, 2014

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, June 7, 1:13 PM

Intuitively this week, my body felt like it needed to fast.  Intuitively, even thought I'd only planned a two day juice fast, it turned into four.  With the right plan for fasting, and doctor's supervision as needed depending on your state of health or knowledge about how to fast correctly, it is highly doable.  

 

I use a company that specializes in juicing and provides a whole kit of raw juices designed to give me different nutrients at different times of the day and it's all organic.  I was never hungry and only had one afternoon dealing with a detox headache from going off caffeine. The rest of the time I was completely energized.  Returning to food now, my body is craving raw vegetables and has no desire for caffeine or some of the other nutritional "slips" into foods that aren't healthy for me.

 

Amazing to see more natural paths to healing being embraced by the medical community.  Medical interventions are sometimes very necessary and so I am grateful that we have them.  It's not an either/or...it's an and - how can more "traditional" medical approaches and some natural approaches work together for best outcomes...that's an exciting place to be.