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Genetic Mutations Warn of Skin Cancer Risk

Genetic Mutations Warn of Skin Cancer Risk | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Researchers have discovered that mutations in a specific gene are responsible for a hereditary form of melanoma.


"Every year in the UK, almost 12,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma, a form of skin cancer. About 1 in 20 people with melanoma have a strong family history of the disease. In these patients, pinpointing the genetic mutations that drive disease development allows dermatologists to identify people who should be part of melanoma surveillance programmes.


"The team found that people with specific mutations in the POT1 gene were extremely likely to develop melanoma. These mutations deactivate the POT1 gene that protects the ends of our chromosomes from damage."

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 30, 2014

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Most Cancer Survivors Not Exercising Enough to Benefit

Most Cancer Survivors Not Exercising Enough to Benefit | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Despite the benefits that physical activity can offer, a mere 10% of cancer survivors are exercising enough to reap those benefits, according to research conducted by Yale Cancer Center and the Yale School of Public Health. The findings will be presented beginning April 5, at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014, in San Diego."

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 28, 2014

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Non-Invasive Gene Expression Profile Test Shown to Identify Sentinel Lymph Node Negative Melanoma Patients at High Risk of Metastasis

"Castle Biosciences Inc. has announced study results showing its gene expression profile (GEP) test (DecisionDx-Melanoma) can identify primary cutaneous (skin) melanoma tumors that are likely to metastasize in patients who had a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy. The data are being presented at the Latest in Dermatology Research Symposium session of the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The DecisionDx-Melanoma test completed validation in 2013 and is widely used to determine metastatic risk in Stage I and II melanoma patients."

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Medical News Today  |  Mar 25, 2014

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ASCO: ‘Smaller, Smarter’ Cancer Trials Will Yield More Meaningful Results

ASCO: ‘Smaller, Smarter’ Cancer Trials Will Yield More Meaningful Results | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"ASCO recently released new recommendations designed to increase the likelihood of 'clinical meaningful outcomes' in trials for advanced pancreatic, lung, breast and colon cancers.


"The recommendations — developed by the ASCO Cancer Research Committee in conjunction with other experts and patient advocates, and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology — establish OS goals for clinical trial designs that are intended to significantly extend the lives of people with cancer."

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Healio  |  Mar 23, 2014

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Healio  |  Mar 23, 2014

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Implementation of the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network

Implementation of the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The National Cancer Institute is launching a new clinical trials research network intended to improve treatment for the more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year.  The new system, NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), will facilitate the rapid initiation and completion of cancer clinical trials based on improvements in data management infrastructure, the development of a standardized process for prioritization of new studies, consolidation of its component research groups to improve efficiency, and the implementation of a unified system of research subject protection at over 3,000 clinical trials sites.  Grants to fund the program will be awarded early in the spring of 2014...


"NCTN employs an inclusive process for generating studies and conducting clinical trials using broad representation from the oncology field, including academic researchers, as well as professional organizations, patients, and advocates.  In particular, community-based clinical trials play an important role in expanding the implementation of research findings to encompass all phases of cancer care delivery.  A new system to support clinical trials research in the community setting, the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), which will play a critical, complementary role to the NCTN, is being launched later this year and will involve both cancer treatment and cancer care delivery research."

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National Cancer Institute  |  Mar 20, 2014

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ASCO Sets Up Framework to Improve Cancer Care

ASCO Sets Up Framework to Improve Cancer Care | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A new report, published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the Journal of Oncology Practice and presented in part via a live Webcast in Washington, DC, outlined the current and future challenges of cancer care in the United States. An increasing cost of care and demand for quality care, growing cancer patient and cancer survivor populations, and a decreasing oncology workforce are all contributing to a challenging environment for cancer care."

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Cancer Network  |  Mar 19, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Mar 19, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Mar 19, 2014

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Amgen Vaccine Triggers Immune Response in Advanced Melanoma -Study

"An experimental Amgen Inc cancer vaccine used to treat advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, proved effective in a late-stage study in shrinking tumors in a way that suggests the drug triggered the intended systemic immune response, according to data presented on Friday.

"The vaccine shrank tumors that were directly injected with the drug and tumors around the body that were not injected, according to the data.

"The drug, talimogene laherparepvec, also known as T-vec, is an engineered virus designed to replicate inside the injected tumor, killing cancer cells there, as well as prime the immune system to attack other cancer cells around body."

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Reuters  |  Mar 14, 2014

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Immunotherapy, BRAF Inhibitor Sequence Affected Outcomes in Metastatic Melanoma

Immunotherapy, BRAF Inhibitor Sequence Affected Outcomes in Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Prior treatment with immunotherapy did not limit response to BRAF inhibitors among patients with metastatic melanoma, according to results of a retrospective study.


"However, patients who underwent initial treatment with BRAF inhibitors and subsequently received immunotherapy with ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) demonstrated poorer outcomes, results showed.


"Patients with BRAF-positive metastatic melanoma have several treatment options, including BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Hoffmann-La Roche) and dabrafenib  (Taflinar, GlaxoSmithKline), the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist, GlaxoSmithKline), and the immunotherapy agents ipilimumab and interleukin-2. Yet, there are limited data with regard to optimal sequencing, according to researchers."

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Healio  |  Mar 14, 2014

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Krishan Maggon 's curator insight, March 15, 2014 4:19 AM

Prior treatment with BRAF inhibitors reduced subsequent response to immunotherapy. Prior treatment with ipilimumab had no effect on response to BRAF inhibitors.

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New Trial of Personalised Cancer Treatment Begins in Oxford

New Trial of Personalised Cancer Treatment Begins in Oxford | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The first human trial of a pioneering personalised cancer treatment developed at Oxford University will begin this week, with the potential to tackle a wide range of late-stage cancers.


"A major challenge in drug development is that all cancer patients respond differently to treatment, making it difficult to know how best to treat each patient. For the first time, a phase I trial in Oxford will investigate not only a new drug, called CXD101, but also a new test to predict which patients could be successfully treated by this class of drug."


Editor's Note: This clinical trial uses molecular testing to determine whether patients will benefit from the treatment being tested. Not all clinical trials take this important step. Read more about this issue.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 14, 2014

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Early Referral to Outpatient Palliative Care Improved End-of-Life Care

Early Referral to Outpatient Palliative Care Improved End-of-Life Care | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Adult patients with advanced cancer who were referred early to outpatient palliative care experienced better end-of-life care compared with patients who received inpatient palliative care, according to study results.


"David Hui, MD, MSc, of the department of palliative care and rehabilitation medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and colleagues evaluated data from 366 patients who died of advanced cancer from 2009 to 2010.


"All patients received a palliative care consultation, and 120 (33%) had an early referral, defined as longer than 3 months before death. Nearly half of the patients (n=169; 46%) first received outpatient palliative care."

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Healio  |  Mar 12, 2014

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Healio  |  Mar 12, 2014

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Cancer Patients’ Access to Quality Health Care ‘Threatened’

Cancer Patients’ Access to Quality Health Care ‘Threatened’ | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Increased cancer incidence will coincide with a decreasing number of oncologists and growing financial strain of community oncologic practices, according to ASCO’s “State of Cancer Care in America: 2014” report...


"The report — the first comprehensive assessment of its kind — estimates the number of US cancer cases will increase 45% by 2030, partially due to an aging population and screening practices. The current number of 13.7 million cancer survivors also is expected to increase to about 18 million."

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Healio  |  Mar 12, 2014

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At Last, Success Seen in Fighting Cancer with the Immune System

At Last, Success Seen in Fighting Cancer with the Immune System | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Fundamental research -- much of it done in Boston -- has led to a shift in the scientific strategy for fighting some cancers, toward using drugs to activate a patient’s own immune system. An approach that was on the fringes of cancer therapy is suddenly the hottest trend in cancer drug development. On Monday, for example, Boston researchers presented data showing that nearly half of patients with advanced melanoma lived for two years after getting an experimental immune therapy called nivolumab, though multiple other therapies hadn’t worked for them. And drug companies have announced several deals recently to acquire companies developing immunotherapies. The frenzy of activity is an abrupt change for a field that had made big promises but failed to deliver for years."

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The Boston Globe  |  Mar 10, 2014

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DNA Shed by Tumors Shows Promise for Non-Invasive Screening and Prognosis

DNA Shed by Tumors Shows Promise for Non-Invasive Screening and Prognosis | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumors into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies, according to results of an international study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators.


"Analyzing blood samples from 640 patients with various cancers, the researchers used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technology (a sophisticated method of multiplying and measuring the number DNA molecules) to evaluate how well the DNA fragments predicted the presence of tumors in the patients."

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 6, 2014

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Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix...


"When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second."

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The New York Times  |  Mar 27, 2014

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Eating Organic Food Doesn't Lower Your Overall Risk of Cancer, Study Says

Eating Organic Food Doesn't Lower Your Overall Risk of Cancer, Study Says | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Women who always or mostly eat organic foods have the same likelihood of developing cancer as women who eat conventionally produced foods, according to an Oxford University study.


"Kathryn Bradbury and colleagues in Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit found no evidence that regularly eating a diet that was grown free from pesticides reduced a woman's overall risk of cancer."

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 28, 2014

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Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds

Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Many cancer researchers believe that cutting-edge advances in genomics will pave the way for personalized or "precision" cancer medicine for all patients in the near future. A new study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, however, suggest that not all doctors are ready to embrace tests that look for hundreds of DNA changes in patients' tumor samples, while others plan to offer this type of cancer gene testing to most of their patients. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


"The wide variation in attitudes was in part determined by physicians' genomic confidence. Physicians who had a lot of confidence in their ability to use and explain genomic findings were more likely to want to prescribe the test and consider using test results when making treatment recommendations. Physicians with lower levels of genomic confidence were more reluctant to offer such testing. These findings are particularly interesting because the survey was carried out at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), which has a comprehensive research program that allows all consenting patients to have tumor testing that could find mutations and other DNA changes that drive their cancer. In some cases those genomic tumor profiles can provide targets for specific drugs known to be effective against particular mutations."


Editor's note: Cancer gene testing, or molecular testing, can be a powerful tool to help guide treatment decisions. Learn more about it.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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New Treatments for Advanced Melanoma Presented at AAD

New Treatments for Advanced Melanoma Presented at AAD | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In recent years, the FDA has approved new drugs for the treatment of advanced melanoma, which has presented new ways to treat the disease, according to a presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting.


“ 'In the last four years there have been four new drugs that have been FDA-approved for melanoma and what’s even more exciting is that they really speak to two new ways to treating melanoma,' Allan C. Halpern, MD, MSc, chief of dermatology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, told Healio.com.


"The most recent FDA approval, in January, was the combination of a BRAF inhibitor and a MEK inhibitor for treating advanced melanoma."

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Healio  |  Mar 23, 2014

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Living With Cancer: The Cost of Trials

Living With Cancer: The Cost of Trials | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A recent CT scan made me realize that the clinical trial extending my life effectively excludes all but the most privileged cancer patients.

"I used to weasel out of scans. Chalk it up to trepidation about radiation and possible kidney damage, along with paranoid suspicions that such scans don’t yield definitive pictures. My oncologist and I had agreed to fudge on frequent testing. But the clinical trial did not."


Editor's Note: Learn more about clinical trials here.

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The New York Times  |  Mar 20, 2014

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Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma: Added Benefit for Non-Pretreated Patients Not Proven

Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma: Added Benefit for Non-Pretreated Patients Not Proven | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) already assessed the added benefit of ipilimumab in advanced melanoma in 2012. A considerable added benefit was found for patients who had already received previous treatment. In the new dossier compiled by the drug manufacturer, the drug was now compared with the appropriate comparator therapy dacarbazine specified by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) also for non-pretreated patients."


Editor's Note: This story is a little confusing, so here is a summary to clarify: It was already known that ipilimumab can be beneficial for people who have received previous treatment for melanoma. A new study aimed to find out if ipilimumab also improves survival for patients who have not received prior treatment. However, for a variety of reasons, the study did not show that ipilimumab performs any better than dacarbazine in patients who have not received prior treatment.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 18, 2014

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‘Early Access’ Scheme Unveiled for Innovative Medicines

‘Early Access’ Scheme Unveiled for Innovative Medicines | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"People with advanced cancer and other serious illnesses like dementia could soon benefit from early access to innovative and promising treatments.

"The Early Access to Medicines scheme would enable safe and promising drugs to be 'fast tracked' into the NHS before they have even been granted a licence for use.

"The new scheme will allow patients without other treatment options to be given experimental drugs that have not yet been licensed but that have been deemed safe and effective through clinical trials.

"Experts will carry out a rapid analysis of the treatment before labelling it a 'promising innovative medicine'.

"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will then offer a scientific opinion based on a medicine’s risks and benefits. If the benefits are found to outweigh the risks, doctors will be given the green light to offer the drug to patients."


Editor's Note: This UK program is similar to a program already in place in the US that allows patients to request access to drugs still being tested in clinical trials. Even though so-called "compassionate access" is possible, the process can be quite difficult for patients. Learn more about it  from our blog feature on the topic.

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Cancer Research UK  |  Mar 14, 2014

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New Cancer Family History Guidance From ASCO

New Cancer Family History Guidance From ASCO | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A new set of recommendations are now available for oncologists on how to collect and utilize the cancer family history of a recently diagnosed cancer patient. The recommendations were released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This is the first guidance specifically on how oncologists can use family history information to assess whether the patient may have a hereditary form of cancer and to identify those who may have a hereditary predisposition to cancer. The guidelines also review how to refer those patients to appropriate genetic testing and counseling."

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Cancer Network  |  Mar 13, 2014

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Beating Cancer Can Come with New Health Risks

Beating Cancer Can Come with New Health Risks | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Completing that final round of chemotherapy and being declared cancer-free is an unquestionable personal health milestone. But it also can mark the start of an uncertain new chapter in a cancer survivor's life story.


" 'The leading cause of death in cancer survivors is actually heart disease,' says Dr. Bruce Liang, director of UConn Health's Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. 'Patients who have had chemotherapy or radiation are at increased risked for developing heart disease, including heart failure.' "

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 14, 2014

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Antibody Could be Used to Target Tumor-Causing Protein, Study Shows

Antibody Could be Used to Target Tumor-Causing Protein, Study Shows | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC) and University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute researchers have found in a phase-1 study that patients with advanced melanoma and kidney cancer who were treated with a certain antibody that targets a tumor-enhancing protein was safe, which could lead to more treatment options for patients.


"The study is published in the March 11 edition of PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open access online publication.


"Principal Investigator John Morris, MD, clinical co-leader of the Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnosis Program for the CCC, co-leader of the UC Cancer Institute's Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program, professor in the division of hematology oncology at the UC College of Medicine and UC Health medical oncologist, says this study sheds light on a therapy that could be used alone or in combination to help patients with a number of cancers."

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 11, 2014

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Young Skin Cancer Survivors at Risk of Other Cancers Later

Young Skin Cancer Survivors at Risk of Other Cancers Later | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Young people who have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer related to sun exposure, under the age of 25, face a higher risk of developing melanoma and other cancers later in life, a study has shown. The researchers found that those who had NMSC under 25 years of age were 53 times more likely to get bone cancer, 26 times more likely to get blood cancers, 20 times more likely to get brain cancer, and 14 times more likely to get any cancer excluding those of the skin."

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ScienceDaily  |  Mar 10, 2014

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UV Light Accelerates Melanoma Cancer Cells that Creep Along the Outside of Blood Vessels

"Based on the pioneering work of Dr. Claire Lugassy and Dr. Raymond Barnhill at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, a new study provides additional support for a process by which melanoma cells, a deadly form of skin cancer, can spread throughout the body by creeping like tiny spiders along the outside of blood vessels without ever entering the blood stream, and that this process is exacerbated by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light."

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Medical News Today  |  Mar 10, 2014

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