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Exact Outline of Melanoma Could Lead to New Diagnostic Tools, Therapies

Exact Outline of Melanoma Could Lead to New Diagnostic Tools, Therapies | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A specific biochemical process that can cause normal and healthy skin cells to transform into cancerous melanoma cells has been found by researchers, which should help predict melanoma vulnerability and could also lead to future therapies. They discovered in this situation that the immune system is getting thrown into reverse, helping to cause cancer instead of preventing it."

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ScienceDaily  |  May 8, 2014

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Blue Nevi Acquired in Older Men, Lacked Association with Melanoma

Blue Nevi Acquired in Older Men, Lacked Association with Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Blue nevi commonly occurred in older men and usually were not associated with melanoma, according to recent study results.


" 'Our findings support the concept that benign [blue nevi] are not uncommonly acquired in older age individuals and that they may be safely clinically followed in the absence of concerning clinical and/or dermoscopic features,' the researchers said."

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Healio  |  May 7, 2014

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iPhone App Offers Quick and Inexpensive Melanoma Screening

iPhone App Offers Quick and Inexpensive Melanoma Screening | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The idea sounds simple: Take a photo of a suspicious mole or lesion with your phone, run it through an embedded software program and find out within a few seconds if it is likely to be cancerous.


"But it could make quick and inexpensive screening a reality for millions of people who lack access to medical specialists. A University of Houston professor created the app, called DermoScan, which is now being evaluated for further testing at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. George Zouridakis, professor of engineering technology, has worked on the project since 2005, moving it to an application for a mobile phone after the iPhone became ubiquitous. The goal is to provide quick screening in rural areas or in the developing world, where specialty medical care generally isn't available, he said."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 7, 2014

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Molecular Tumor Board Helps in Advanced Cancer Cases

Molecular Tumor Board Helps in Advanced Cancer Cases | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it
With accelerating development of personalized cancer treatments matched to a patient's DNA sequencing, proponents say frontline physicians increasingly need help to maneuver through the complex genomic landscape to find the most effective, individualized therapy.


Editor's note: Learn more about personalized medicine and molecular (genetic) testing on our website.

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Medical Xpress  |  May 5, 2014

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Mouse Avatars Allow Cancer Patients to Test Cures

Mouse Avatars Allow Cancer Patients to Test Cures | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The bump on the back of the mouse is the size of a Tic Tac breath mint, or, possibly, a small pea.


"But for Matt Freedman, a New York artist grappling with a rare and deadly neck cancer, the tiny tumor — his tumor — represents a last-ditch hope for a healthy future.

"Freedman, 57, who was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2012, is among a small but growing group of cancer patients turning to a kind of very personalized medicine in which animals serve as stand-ins to treat human disease.


"Called mouse avatars in some circles — like the virtual characters in online games — the critters are implanted with pieces of tumor harvested from their human counterparts. They’re then propagated to create a colony of animals in which to test drugs and other treatments that would be too aggressive — or take too long — to attempt in a person."

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NBC News  |  Apr 29, 2014

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NBC News  |  Apr 29, 2014

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NBC News  |  Apr 29, 2014

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Half of All Cancer Patients Now Survive at Least 10 Years

Half of All Cancer Patients Now Survive at Least 10 Years | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Fifty per cent of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive their disease for at least 10 years, according to landmark figures published by Cancer Research UK today.


"In the early 1970s just a quarter of people diagnosed with cancer survived 10 years.


"Today, Cancer Research UK sets out an ambitious new strategy to accelerate progress with the ambition that three-quarters (75 per cent) of all cancer patients diagnosed in 20 years time will survive at least 10 years."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 29, 2014

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GW Pharmaceuticals Announces That Sativex Receives Fast Track Designation From FDA in Cancer Pain

"Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq:GWPH) (AIM:GWP) ("GW," "the Company" or "the Group"), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, today announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to Sativex® for the treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer, who experience inadequate analgesia during optimized chronic opioid therapy. Sativex is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for this indication.


"FDA's Fast Track program facilitates the development of drugs intended to treat serious or life‑threatening conditions and that have the potential to address unmet medical needs. A drug program with Fast Track status is afforded greater access to the FDA for the purpose of expediting the drug's development, review and potential approval."

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Nasdaq  |  Apr 28, 2014

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UPDATE 1-EU Agency Backs Approval of New GlaxoSmithKline Melanoma Drug

"GlaxoSmithKline's melanoma drug Mekinist - one of several drugs being sold to Novartis under an asset swap deal - has been recommended for approval by European regulators.


"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday its experts had backed the drug, also known as trametinib, as a treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients with a mutation of a gene known as BRAF."

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Reuters  |  Apr 25, 2014

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Skin Cancer Rates Five Times Higher Than in 70s

Skin Cancer Rates Five Times Higher Than in 70s | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are now five times higher than 40 years ago, according to figures announced by Cancer Research UK.


"More than 13,000 people are now developing the disease every year compared with around 1,800 in 1975.


"The latest incidence rates show around 17 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Great Britain every year. This is compared to just over 3 per 100,000 in the mid 70s."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 23, 2014

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An Apple a Day, and Other Myths

An Apple a Day, and Other Myths | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of 'superfoods,' rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.


"But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string."

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The New York Times  |  Apr 21, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 21, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 21, 2014

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Brain Metastases in Melanoma Require Multidisciplinary Approach

Brain Metastases in Melanoma Require Multidisciplinary Approach | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Brain metastases are responsible for the majority of mortality and morbidity among patients with melanoma, and a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to effectively manage this complication, according to a presenter at the HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies meeting.


“ 'This subject has not been well studied. This is the question that people didn’t want to address, but now people are taking on this task,' Geoffrey T. Gibney, MD, a medical oncologist in the department of cutaneous oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center, said during a presentation."


Editor's note: This article is a good summary of brain metastasis in melanoma.

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Healio  |  Apr 12, 2014

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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 1 Study of DCR-MYC in
Patients with Solid Tumors and Hematological Malignancies

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 1 Study of DCR-MYC in <br/>      Patients with Solid Tumors and Hematological Malignancies | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. DRNA +0.67% , a leader in the development of RNAi-based therapeutics, today announced the initiation of a Phase 1 dose-escalating clinical study of DCR-MYC, (also known as DCR-M1711), in patients with solid tumors, multiple myeloma, or lymphoma. DCR-MYC, Dicerna’s first drug candidate to enter clinical testing, is a Dicer Substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) that targets the driver oncogene MYC, which is central to the growth of many hematologic and solid tumor malignancies. Dicerna is investigating DCR-MYC in a variety of tumor types with the initial focus on hepatocellular carcinoma."


Editor's note: This new drug may hold promise for people with lung cancer or melanoma, as well as other cancer types.

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MarketWatch  |  Apr 16, 2014

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MarketWatch  |  Apr 16, 2014

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Genius High School Students Use Crowdsourcing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

"In a groundbreaking effort, 3,500 of the country's top high school students will build the world's largest wiki on melanoma research — and work toward finding that needle in a haystack to cure melanoma.


"The effort is led by www.SaveJordan.org, which will use crowdsourcing to drive user-generated content related to melanoma cancer research to a wiki site. 'The idea is to bypass mainstream medicine and medical research and compile fresh ideas,' saidJordan Guernsey, the 29-year-old father of two and Stage IV cancer survivor who is the force behind SaveJordan.org."

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PR Newswire  |  Apr 15, 2014

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Focused Ultrasound Reduces Cancer Pain

Focused Ultrasound Reduces Cancer Pain | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"When cancer progresses and spreads to the bone, patients often suffer debilitating pain. Now, a new phase III clinical trial shows that non-invasive magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound treatment that heats the cancer within the bone, relieves pain and improves function for most patients when other treatment options are limited."

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ScienceDaily  |  May 5, 2014

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Love seeing breakthroughs that contribute to improved qualify of life for survivors.

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Hypertension Related to New Cancer Therapies - A New Syndrome Emerges

"New cancer therapies, particularly agents that block vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, have improved the outlook for patients with some cancers and are now used as a first line therapy for some tumors. However, almost 100% of patients who take VEGF inhibitors (VEGFIs) develop high blood pressure, and a subset develops severe hypertension. The mechanisms underlying VEGF inhibitor-induced hypertension need to be better understood and there is a need for clear guidelines and improved management, say investigators in a review article published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology."

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Medical News Today  |  May 7, 2014

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FDA to Review Biologics License Application for Merck’s MK-3475 for Metastatic Melanoma

FDA to Review Biologics License Application for Merck’s MK-3475 for Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has accepted for review the biologics license application for an investigational anti-PD-1 antibody for treating unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients treated with ipilimumab, Merck announced.


“ 'Patients with advanced melanoma have few therapeutic options and often fail to respond to all available treatments,' Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, Merck Research Laboratories president, said in a news release. 'We are hopeful that the FDA, through their priority review … will agree to make MK-3475 available to patients with advanced melanoma who have no other therapeutic options.' "


Editor's note: MK-3475 is a drug that has been shown in clinical trials to be an effective treatment for some patients with melanoma. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing MK-3475 to determine whether to allow doctors in the U.S. to prescribe it to patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and who have already received previous treatment with the drug ipilimumab. MK-3475 is an immunotherapy drug, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Read more about it in this blog post from last year.

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Healio  |  May 6, 2014

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Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Patients with metastatic melanoma treated with dabrafenib demonstrated improved quality of life compared with those who received dacarbazine, according to phase 3 study results.


"Initial analyses of the BREAK-3 trial indicated dabrafenib (Tafinlar; GlaxoSmithKline) prolonged median PFS compared with dacarbazine (DTIC) in patients with BRAFV600E-mutant metastatic melanoma (5.1 months vs. 2.7 months; HR=0.30; 95% CI, 0.18-0.53)."

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Healio  |  May 2, 2014

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Mayo Clinic Launches 50-Gene Cancer Panel Test

Mayo Clinic Launches 50-Gene Cancer Panel Test | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Mayo Clinic announces the launch of CANCP, a new gene panel cancer test to help tailor chemotherapy to the individual patient based on the unique genomic signature of the patient's tumor. CANCP, an abbreviation for Solid Tumor Targeted Cancer Gene Panel by Next-Generation Sequencing, scans specific regions in 50 genes known to affect tumor growth and response to chemotherapy. The test is now available to Mayo Clinic patients and to providers worldwide through Mayo Medical Laboratories."


Editor's note: Genetic testing is increasingly being used to help patients and their doctors determine which treatment is most likely to be successful for a particular patient. A doctor can take a biopsy of a patient's tumor and run genetic tests to look for specific DNA mutations. This approach also allows doctors to prescribe targeted therapy medicines, which, unlike traditional chemotherapy, might kill tumor cells without harming healthy cells.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 28, 2014

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Future of Cancer Treatments

Future of Cancer Treatments | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The news spurred hundreds of phone calls and emails to Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada from across the country: Two Stage 4 cancer patients at the Las Vegas center, after participating in the first human trial of an antibody drug with the unwieldy code name of MPDL 3280A, were now cancer-free.


"Rosemary Rathbun, 78, had been so far gone with throat cancer that doctors told her to enroll in hospice. Lorrine Rodgers, 56, had been told there were no other treatments for her spreading breast cancer.


"That their cancer disappeared, the women said in January, was a miracle."


Editor's note: This story is a great overview of an increasingly promising type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal  |  Apr 26, 2014

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Las Vegas Review-Journal  |  Apr 26, 2014

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Ipilimumab May Become Standard of Care for Adjuvant Melanoma Therapy

Ipilimumab May Become Standard of Care for Adjuvant Melanoma Therapy | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Two phase 3 trials currently underway are expected to help answer the provocative question of whether ipilimumab will replace interferon as the standard of care for adjuvant therapy in melanoma, according to a presenter at the HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies meeting.


“ 'We really have a new path forward and a new beginning,' Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, chief of the division of hematology/oncology and C. Willard professor of medicine at Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a presentation. 'I’m hopeful we will advance this therapy further by refining proper patient selection, matching the right biomarkers and modifying toxicities.' "


Editor's note: Clinical trials are research studies done with volunteer patients. Learn more about the risks and advantages of trials for patients here. The clinical trials described in this story are testing the ability of the drug ipilimumab to prevent recurrence in patients who have already been treated for stage III and stage IV melanoma. Interferon is currently the standard of care for so-called 'adjuvant therapy' to prevent recurrence, but ipilimumab may soon replace it.

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Healio  |  Apr 11, 2014

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Binimetinib Continues To Advance In Clinical Development

Binimetinib Continues To Advance In Clinical Development | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Three Phase 3 trials with binimetinib continue to enroll in advanced cancer patients:  NRAS-mutant melanoma (NEMO / NCT01763164), low-grade serous ovarian cancer (MILO / NCT01849874) and BRAF-mutant melanoma (COLUMBUS / NCT01909453).  NRAS-mutant melanoma represents the first potential indication for binimetinib, with a projected regulatory filing from the NRAS-mutant melanoma study estimated to be in 2015."


Editor's note: This is a press release from a company that is testing a new potential treatment for melanoma called binimetinib, or "MEK162." The drug is being tested in clinical trials (learn more about clinical trials). One of the trials is enrolling melanoma patients whose tumors have mutations in the NRAS gene, as detected by molecular testing. Another is enrolling patients with BRAF mutations.

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Array Biopharma  |  Apr 23, 2014

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Cancer Patients Need Anxiety, Depression Screening

Cancer Patients Need Anxiety, Depression Screening | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"It is important to recognize and treat anxiety or depression among cancer patients, according to a clinical guideline published online April 14 in theJournal of Clinical Oncology...


"The panel recommends that all patients with cancer be evaluated for symptoms of depression and anxiety periodically throughout care. Validated, published measures and procedures should be used for assessments. Different treatment pathways are recommended depending on symptom level. The risk for poor quality of life and potential disease-related morbidity and mortality is increased by the failure to identify and treat anxiety and depression."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 22, 2014

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Care of Cancer Survivors Often Falls Short

Care of Cancer Survivors Often Falls Short | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Most cancer patients enter survivorship with little direction from oncologists or primary care providers, according to a national survey.


"Two-thirds of 1,130 oncologists said they always or almost always discuss survivorship with patients, but only a third told patients where to seek cancer-related or other care. Fewer than 5% of oncology respondents provided patients with a written plan for survivorship care."

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MedPage Today  |  Apr 21, 2014

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MedPage Today  |  Apr 21, 2014

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Palliative Care Explained

"Originating from the Latin word pallium, meaning 'a cloak,' palliative care offers relief from the symptoms and stresses of cancer. It’s not a replacement for therapies like chemotherapy, radiation or surgery that treat the illness. Instead, it’s a companion therapy.


"For someone with a serious condition that affects quality of life, 'if you want the best care possible and you’re getting cancer care without palliative care, then you’re not getting the best care,' says Diane Meier, a geriatrician and palliative care specialist who directs the Center to Advance Palliative Care."


Editor's note: Palliative care is often mistakenly equated with hospice care or end-of-life care. In fact, any cancer patient can seek palliative care to complement their treatment and improve quality of life.

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Cancer Today  |  Spring 2014

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Cancer Today  |  Spring 2014

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Survival Hope for Melanoma Patients Thanks to New Vaccine

Survival Hope for Melanoma Patients Thanks to New Vaccine | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability to stop or reverse the cancer.


"The vaccine, known as vaccinia melanoma cell lysate (VMCL), was given regularly as a treatment to 54 South Australian patients with advanced, inoperable melanoma over a 10-year period."


Editor's note: The cancer vaccine VMCL is a type of immunotherapy, which means it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 17, 2014

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