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A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start

A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Cancer is a disease of genes gone wrong. When certain genes mutate, they make cells behave in odd ways. The cells divide swiftly, they hide from the immune system that could kill them and they gain the nourishment they need to develop into tumors.

"Scientists started identifying these cancer genes in the 1970s and their list slowly grew over the years. By studying them, scientists came to understand how different types of cancer develop and in some cases they were even able to develop gene-targeting drugs. Last May, for example, the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Tarceva to treat lung cancer in which a gene called EGFR has mutated."

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Health Reform Projected to Boost Demand for Oncology Services

Health Reform Projected to Boost Demand for Oncology Services | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Demand for oncologists and radiation oncologists will continue to outpace supply over the next decade as more patients become insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), researchers reported in the January issue of Journal of Oncology Practice.


"By 2025, overall demand for oncologists and radiation oncologists is expected to grow by 40% while the supply will increase by just 25%, resulting in a market shortfall of 2,393 full-time equivalent physicians when the ACA is fully implemented, according to the study. As more people become insured under the ACA, demand for oncologists’ services will rise by an estimated 500,000 visits in 2025 alone, researchers said."

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

Tambre Leighn's curator insight, February 7, 12:35 PM

Focusing on "standardizing care pathways, using an integrated care approach, and improving counseling of patients on how to manage the course of disease" are recommended solutions by the article researchers.

 

How will your healthcare organization respond to the ever increasing demand for oncology professionals?

 

For information on how coaching and iPEC's 7th Level Coach   Centric™ approach can improve clinician productivity, reduce stress and empower patients to be more engaged in their own health, email tleighn@iPECcoaching.com and receive a copy of "The Role of Coaching in Transforming Healthcare."

“Through health reform, hundreds of ACOs have been formed, some implementing clinical pathways to standardize oncology treatment, which are expected to standardize care and may enhance physician productivity and reduce costs,” the authors wrote. “Disease-specific ACOs for oncology care would particularly focus on standardizing care pathways, using an integrated care approach, and improving counseling of patients on how to manage the course of disease.” - See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/news/health-reform-projected-boost-demand-oncology-services#sthash.nyj20iXY.dpuf

The best strategy for dealing with the looming shortage may be increasing productivity through more collaborative, coordinated care within affordable care organizations (ACOs), researchers said.

“Through health reform, hundreds of ACOs have been formed, some implementing clinical pathways to standardize oncology treatment, which are expected to standardize care and may enhance physician productivity and reduce costs,” the authors wrote. “Disease-specific ACOs for oncology care would particularly focus on standardizing care pathways, using an integrated care approach, and improving counseling of patients on how to manage the course of disease.”

- See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/news/health-reform-projected-boost-demand-oncology-services#sthash.nyj20iXY.dpuf

The best strategy for dealing with the looming shortage may be increasing productivity through more collaborative, coordinated care within affordable care organizations (ACOs), researchers said.

“Through health reform, hundreds of ACOs have been formed, some implementing clinical pathways to standardize oncology treatment, which are expected to standardize care and may enhance physician productivity and reduce costs,” the authors wrote. “Disease-specific ACOs for oncology care would particularly focus on standardizing care pathways, using an integrated care approach, and improving counseling of patients on how to manage the course of disease.”

- See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/news/health-reform-projected-boost-demand-oncology-services#sthash.nyj20iXY.dpuf

The best strategy for dealing with the looming shortage may be increasing productivity through more collaborative, coordinated care within affordable care organizations (ACOs), researchers said.

“Through health reform, hundreds of ACOs have been formed, some implementing clinical pathways to standardize oncology treatment, which are expected to standardize care and may enhance physician productivity and reduce costs,” the authors wrote. “Disease-specific ACOs for oncology care would particularly focus on standardizing care pathways, using an integrated care approach, and improving counseling of patients on how to manage the course of disease.”

- See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/news/health-reform-projected-boost-demand-oncology-services#sthash.nyj20iXY.dpuf
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National Poll Shows Public Divided on Genetic Testing to Predict Cancer Risk

National Poll Shows Public Divided on Genetic Testing to Predict Cancer Risk | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A national poll from the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute shows 34 percent of respondents would not seek genetic testing to predict their likelihood of developing a hereditary cancer – even if the cost of the testing was not an issue.


"Concerns about employment and insurability were cited as the primary reason, even though current laws prohibit such discrimination.

The poll also shows only 35 percent of respondents would be extremely or very likely to seek aggressive prophylactic or preventive treatment, such as a mastectomy, if they had a family history of cancer and genetic testing indicated a genetic pre-disposition to cancer."

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Medical Xpress  |  Feb 5, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Feb 5, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Feb 5, 2014

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Marker May Predict Response to Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma

Marker May Predict Response to Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Among patients with advanced melanoma, presence of higher levels of the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in blood was associated with poor response to treatment with the immunotherapy ipilimumab, according to a study published inCancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


"The study suggests combining immunotherapy with VEGF inhibitors, also known as angiogenesis inhibitors, may be a potential option for these patients."

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Medical Xpress  |  Feb 4, 2014

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Not Enough Cancer Patients Enroll in Clinical Trials

Not Enough Cancer Patients Enroll in Clinical Trials | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Around 10% of mid- and late-stage clinical trials of cancer treatments end prematurely because not enough patients enroll, a recent analysis shows. This lack of participants slows the development of new cancer medications and wastes considerable amounts of money invested in these trials. The authors of the analysis hope to focus attention on possible reasons why too few patients enroll in clinical trials. Doctors may not always encourage their patients enough to participate, and some insurance plans do not cover the costs associated with clinical trials. Patients may also hesitate because they fear receiving only a placebo instead of treatment. However, in modern clinical trials, new cancer drugs are tested against the current standard therapy, so that all participants receive treatment.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 28, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 28, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 28, 2014

Tambre Leighn's curator insight, February 5, 8:51 AM

Given the frequency with which I see information requests by survivors in social media and on websites they connect to for support regarding the availability of trials, it would seem there is an excellent opportunity through efforts such as this analysis to find out what it is that survivors need to enroll more frequently as the interest seems to be out there.

 

However, it won't be enough to identify potential barriers.  To be of value and produce results that increase participation in trials, there will need to be follow up action plans that address these barriers - be they education, financial resources or other missing pieces that keep survivors from first knowing about trials and then from enrolling in them.

 

Perhaps those seeking to populate their trials may want to move past the Field of Dreams "if we build it, they will come" approach and reach out to the many highly active cancer communities and their survivorship populations or, in the least, involve the many advocates and influencers in those communities.

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Drinking Linked to Skin Cancer

Drinking Linked to Skin Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Just one drink a day could raise the risk of skin cancer by 20%, says new research that combined 16 existing studies which together included thousands of people. The researchers also found that drinking the equivalent of a few strong beers increased the risk of melanoma as much as 55%. What's the link between alcohol and skin cancer? The type of alcohol in drinks is ethanol, which our bodies soon metabolize into another compound called acetaldehyde — and this compound may make skin more sensitive to the UV light that can cause skin cancer. That said, the researchers acknowledge that it may simply be that drinkers are more likely to bask in the sun longer without protection. However, they also remind us that alcohol is now linked to seven kinds of cancer, and say that cutting down on drinking could also cut the risk of cancer.


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British Journal of Dermatology │ Jan 28, 2014

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New DNA Sequencing Machine Drastically Reduces Cost of Genetic Testing

New DNA Sequencing Machine Drastically Reduces Cost of Genetic Testing | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Cheaper, faster DNA sequencing has already started to revolutionize medicine, including cancer medicine. Decoding the first human genome (a person’s entire genetic information) took 13 years and $3 billion. Since then, the price has dropped to around $10,000. (Cheaper DNA-testing services like “23andMe” only test a small fraction of the genome.) Now, a new sequencing machine has been released that can sequence an entire genome for just $1,000 within 24 hours. The device will enable more healthcare centers to offer genomic testing, a key component in personalized medicine. Testing the entire genome of a tumor sample, for example, can identify the individual mutation driving the cancer growth in a patient, and guide the selection of targeted therapies directed at the specific mutation.

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Bloomberg Businessweek  |  Jan 15, 2014

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Bloomberg Businessweek  |  Jan 15, 2014

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Bloomberg Businessweek  |  Jan 15, 2014

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New Trial Combines Two Immunotherapies Against Melanoma (Yervoy & Prophage)

New Trial Combines Two Immunotherapies Against Melanoma (Yervoy & Prophage) | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Will the FDA-approved immune system booster Yervoy (ipilimumab) work better when combined with an experimental melanoma vaccine? Researchers are about to find out ─ the combination will be tested in a phase II clinical trial of up to 25 people. Ipilimumab doesn’t work on its own in about 70% of people with melanomas. The vaccine, called Prophage, could sharpen immune system attacks because it’s made from people’s own tumors.

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Agenus  |  Jan 14, 2014

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Scalp Melanomas May Come Back More Often

Scalp Melanomas May Come Back More Often | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Melanomas in the scalp may be more even aggressive than those elsewhere, according to a new study. The researchers looked at the outcomes of 250 people who had scalp melanomas in stages I, II or III, and found that they came back in 74 (30%). This recurrence was in the scalp in 23 people, in the neck in 12 people, elsewhere in the body in 22 people, and in more than one place in 17 people. Cautioning that melanomas in the scalp may warrant special clinical consideration, the researchers call for identifying better ways to check for and treat these particularly high-risk skin cancers.

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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology  |  Dec 26, 2013

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US FDA OKs Combo Treatment for Melanomas with BRAF Mutations

US FDA OKs Combo Treatment for Melanomas with BRAF Mutations | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Good news for people with melanomas that have BRAF mutations — the US Food and Drug administration just greenlighted using two targeted treatments at the same time. The two targeted treatments are the BRAF inhibitor Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and the MEK inhibitor Mekinist (trametinib), and both were previously FDA-approved for separate use. Melanomas often become resistant to BRAF inhibitors, and adding the MEK inhibitor could prevent or stave off this resistance.

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Reuters  |  Jan 9, 2014

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Cost of Cancer Drugs Strongly Affects Treatment Adherence

Cost of Cancer Drugs Strongly Affects Treatment Adherence | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A study of over 1,500 cancer patients showed that drug costs have a significant effect on whether patients stick to their treatment plan. The study’s subjects had been prescribed imatinib (Gleevec), a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Patients with higher co-payments were 42% more likely to skip doses and 70% percent more likely to stop taking Gleevec entirely. Missing only 15% of prescribed Gleevec doses significantly raises the chance of the cancer developing drug resistance and relapsing. The study also found drastic differences in out-of-pocket treatment costs, with co-payments ranging from nothing to $4,792 for a 30-day supply of Gleevec. The average co-payment amount more than doubled over the 9-year course of the study.

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UNC Health Care  |  Jan 6, 2014

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UNC Health Care  |  Jan 6, 2014

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UNC Health Care  |  Jan 6, 2014

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Early, High-Dose Interferon Fails to Stop Melanoma

Early, High-Dose Interferon Fails to Stop Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new study has dashed hopes that high doses of interferon given early on would be enough to curb melanoma. In a phase II clinical trial of about 200 people with melanomas that had not begun to spread, researchers treated half with high-dose interferon every day for a month and the other half with the same high-dose interferon regimen followed by 48 weeks of "maintenance" doses of this immune response-boosting protein. Maintenance doses are typically about 50% lower and are given three times a week instead of daily. The researchers found that the latter group did better, living longer without recurrence as well as surviving longer overall. The latter year-long interferon treatment is standard in the US and Australia, while lower doses of interferon are more commonly used in Europe, says an accompanying editorial.

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Journal of Clinical Oncology  |  Dec 16, 2013

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New Dye Could Tag Melanomas That Aren't Dark

New Dye Could Tag Melanomas That Aren't Dark | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Surgeons may be able to see—and remove—skin cancers completely, thanks to a new compound that tags tumors. Called BLZ-100, the experimental compound combines a fluorescent dye with a protein fragment that binds cancer cells. A phase I clinical trial of intravenously injected BLZ-100 will soon be underway in Australia, enrolling up to 30 people with basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, or melanomas that lack the dark pigment melanin, making them hard to diagnose. In addition, U.S. clinical trials are expected for other kinds of tumors by the end of 2014.



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Blaze Bioscience, Inc.  |  Dec 17, 2013

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Dramatic Rise in Skin Cancer Among Middle-Aged Adults, Study Shows

"A new Mayo Clinic study found that among middle-aged men and women, 40 to 60 years old, the overall incidence of skin cancer increased nearly eightfold between 1970 and 2009, according to a study published in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


'" The most striking finding was among women in that age group,' says dermatologist Jerry Brewer, M.D., principal investigator of the study. 'Women between 40 and 50 showed the highest rates of increase we've seen in any group so far.'


"There has been widespread concern in recent years about the rising incidence of melanoma, which affects 75,000 Americans annually and results in nearly 9,000 deaths. Few studies, however, have investigated which age brackets of adults are most at risk."

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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 4, 2014

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Experts Say Palliative Care Underused in Cancer Care

Experts Say Palliative Care Underused in Cancer Care | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Integrating palliative care earlier in the disease process can improve quality of life and possibly survival for patients with advanced cancer, but its value is widely misunderstood, according to a recent review by palliative care experts in the New England Journal of Medicine.


"Most palliative care currently is provided at end-of-life due to its perceived association with hospice care, said the article, co-authored by experts from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, the American Cancer Society, and Johns Hopkins University. But whereas hospice care provides comfort for patients in the last stages of an incurable disease, palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms and can be provided in concert with curative treatment at any stage in a serious illness."

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Killing Cancer through the Immune System

Killing Cancer through the Immune System | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The immune system has this blind spot by design – an immune system that has an ability to attack itself leads to autoimmune diseases, so as protection, it screens out its own tissue.


"For decades, scientists assumed that cancer was beyond the reach of the body's natural defenses. But after decades of skepticism that the immune system could be trained to root out and eliminate these malignant cells, a new generation of drugs is proving otherwise.


"The treatment consists of infusing antibodies that enhance the immune system to recognize cancer cells and attack it. What's more, since the immune system has a built-in memory, it continues to go after cancer cells, so the response can be longer lasting and more complete.


"The trick is that this treatment doesn't work for everybody, and researchers don't yet understand why. But when it does work, the results have been particularly impressive."

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Medical Xpress  |  Feb 4, 2014

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Why Today’s Reports About Skin Cancer and Alcohol are Misleading

Why Today’s Reports About Skin Cancer and Alcohol are Misleading | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Let’s be clear – drinking alcohol carries health risks.


"It causes seven different types of cancer. And the more we cut down on alcohol, the more we reduce our risk of the disease.


"But while we’d certainly like people to be more aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, we also believe in good quality evidence. And that’s why today’s newspaper headlines linking drinking and the most serious form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, bothered us.


"Because the evidence simply isn’t strong enough to link the two."

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Cancer Research UK  |  Jan 29, 2014

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Radiation from Medical Imaging May Increase Cancer Rates

Radiation from Medical Imaging May Increase Cancer Rates | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Medical imaging techniques that use high doses of radiation, including CT scans, play an important role in modern medicine, including cancer screening. However, these procedures may themselves increase the incidence of cancer. Radiation exposure from medical imaging in the U.S. has increased more than sixfold between the 1980s and 2006. Several studies have linked multiple CT scans to increased cancer risk. Moreover, there are no official guidelines on the correct radiation doses for different medical imaging techniques, meaning that doses at one hospital may be up to 50 times higher than at another. Clear standards are needed to ensure that high-radiation imaging techniques are only used when clearly medically necessary and that the lowest feasible radiation doses are employed.

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New York Times  |  Jan 30, 2014

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New York Times  |  Jan 30, 2014

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New York Times  |  Jan 30, 2014

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Trial Supports Recent US FDA Approval of New Melanoma Combo Treatment

Trial Supports Recent US FDA Approval of New Melanoma Combo Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

The US Food and Drug Administration just granted accelerated approval for a treatment that combines two drugs that target melanomas with BRAF mutations — but this was contingent results of an ongoing phase III clinical trial. The drugs are the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist). Now the latest results of the trial are in and they look good. This combination treatment is not approved elsewhere in the world, and the trial included 423 people from Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Final results are expected later this year and will be presented at a scientific meeting. In addition, another trial is comparing this combination treatment to the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf), which is also FDA-approved.

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GlaxoSmithKline │ Jan 24, 2014

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Personalized Vaccines May Boost Survival After Interleukin Treatment

Personalized Vaccines May Boost Survival After Interleukin Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

High doses of interleukin-2 (IL-2) can shrink melanomas but only 15% of people are still alive five years after this treatment. Now, new research shows that giving people vaccines against their own tumors could boost survival after IL-2 treatment. In a study of 149 people with melanomas that had spread, those treated with both IL-2 and a personalized vaccine lived far longer than those treated with IL-2 alone (nearly 40 vs. 12 months, respectively). In addition, people were far more likely to be alive at five years when given the vaccine before IL-2 treatment than when the order was reversed (46% vs. 14%, respectively).

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Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals  |  Jan 24, 2014

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Merck Applies for FDA License for Promising Experimental PD-1 Blocker (MK-3475)

Merck Applies for FDA License for Promising Experimental PD-1 Blocker (MK-3475) | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

People with melanoma could have a new treatment option soon ─ Merck is applying for a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) license for a new experimental immunotherapy for this skin cancer. Called MK-3475, the treatment blocks a protein (PD-1) that lets tumor cells evade the immune system. The FDA fast-tracked its review of MK-3475 in 2013 on the strength of clinical trials showing that this drug may extend life in people with melanoma by a year. Merck says the FDA application should be complete in the first half of 2014.

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Merck  |  Jan 13, 2014

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is Preferable for Treating Insomnia in Cancer Patients

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is Preferable for Treating Insomnia in Cancer Patients | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

One-third to over one-half of cancer patients experience sleep disturbances, and around one-fourth meet a formal diagnosis of insomnia. A recent study compared two therapies aimed at improving insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), in cancer patients. Both therapies reduced insomnia severity and improved mood and stress symptoms, both immediately and at follow-up three months later. However, CBT-I improved insomnia symptoms more than MBSR, especially immediately after program completion. CBT-I therefore appears to provide better and more rapid relief to cancer patients suffering from insomnia.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 9, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 9, 2014

Tambre Leighn's curator insight, January 14, 8:49 PM

Cancer survivors must self-educate, self-advocate and report issues that generate quality of life challenges.  Be diligent in pursuing answers and solutions.  Keep asking for help...seek out palliative care - which is accessible and applicable at any point along the cancer continuum and does NOT equal end stage cancer, end of life or hospice.  Be relentless in getting what you need.  You deserve it.

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Most Cancer Physicians Would Choose Hospice for Themselves

Most Cancer Physicians Would Choose Hospice for Themselves | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

In a survey of almost 4,500 physicians who treat cancer patients, the majority said that they would enroll in hospice if they themselves had terminal cancer. This was especially true for women, primary care physicians, those with more patients in managed care, and those treating more terminally ill patients. Physicians who expressed a higher preference for hospice for themselves were also more likely to discuss hospice care with their patients early on in treatment, suggesting that personal preferences regarding hospice can influence patient care. The survey’s authors therefore suggest that physicians with negative views of hospice for themselves should consider further educating themselves about how hospice may benefit their patients.

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ASCO Post  |  Jan 7, 2014

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ASCO Post  |  Jan 7, 2014

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ASCO Post  |  Jan 7, 2014

Tambre Leighn's curator insight, January 10, 8:36 AM

If evidence suggests physicians' personal views may impact or influence patient care and what options and choices are offered, how can patients be sure they are being informed without bias?  Through better communication skills, self-advocacy, and giving themselves permission to ask questions about the physicians' personal beliefs. More evidence that patients must take the lead in being educated and ensuring they are clear how personal opinion may or may not be influencing information they are or are not receiving.

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Targeted Radiation Could Help Find and Treat Melanomas

Targeted Radiation Could Help Find and Treat Melanomas | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A pair of new studies shows the promise of using radioactive drugs to reveal and shrink melanomas. The drugs are based on benzamide, a small molecule that binds the dark pigment in melanomas (melanin). In the first study, a phase III clinical trial showed that a new melanin-binding radioactive tag is not as good as the current radioactive tag for staging melanomas. While the current tag is not specific to melanomas, the new tag fell short because melanoma produces less melanin as it progresses. However, the researchers point out that the new tag may still help diagnose melanomas that have spread. The second study included 26 people with melanomas that had spread, and nine received a radioactive melanin-binding treatment at a range of doses. Encouragingly, three of the five with doses higher than the range average survived more than two years.

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The Journal of Nuclear Medicine  |  Jan 1, 2014

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New Targetable Protein Linked to Melanoma Spread

New Targetable Protein Linked to Melanoma Spread | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

New research suggests that melanomas are more likely to spread in people whose sentinel lymph nodes (SNLs) contain a particular subtype of white blood cells (lymphocytes). The researchers studied 42 people with melanoma, and found that tumors were more likely to spread within five years when their SNL lymphocytes had a surface protein called CD30. Moreover, this lymphocyte type was also more common in the blood of 25 people with advanced melanoma. These findings suggest that CD30 could be a target from treating melanoma, which is encouraging because the FDA has already approved a drug (brentuximab vedotin or Adcetris) that targets this protein for lymphoma treatment.

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Cancer Research │Jan 1, 2014

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