Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Moffitt Cancer Center research improves treatment of advanced melanoma

TAMPA — A new cocktail of cancer-fighting drugs can help patients with advanced melanoma, a Moffitt Cancer Center researcher has reported in a study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The new research builds on recent advances in therapies for advanced melanoma that center on targeting its genetic fingerprint. Until recently, the deadly skin cancer was considered nearly untreatable in its later stages.

Drugs now are available that can block a mutation in a gene called BRAF, which fuels the cancer. The mutation is present in about half of melanoma cases. If caught early, lesions can be removed surgically, but doctors traditionally had few options once melanoma spreads throughout the body.

Dr. Jeffrey Weber, director of Moffitt's Melanoma Research Center of Excellence, was among the leaders of a national team that sought better results by combining drug therapies to inhibit the BRAF mutation and overcome the tumor's ability to grow resistant to the drugs.

The results of their complex study, involving about 250 patients, are now available online and will publish in print in the Nov. 15 edition of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers found they could improve the outcome for patients through a combination of two drugs, dabrafenib and trametinib. Patients receiving the combination therapy saw their cancers go into remission for 9 1/2 months, compared to 5 1/2 months for those on dabrafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, alone.

Patients receiving the combination treatment also saw their tumors shrink at a higher rate than those receiving the single drug.

"This is an evolutionary development which has important implications," Weber said. "What this shows is you can, to some degree, reverse (drug) resistance."

Additionally, researchers saw more patients respond to the combination therapy. And fewer of them experienced common side effects, which can include additional (though less serious) skin cancers.

The research was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the two drugs. The study involved about two dozen researchers at major cancer centers in the United States and Australia.

Moffitt's Weber, one of five lead authors of the study, called it an important step in advancing drug therapies tailored to the unique genetic profile of each cancer patient.

"These are the first few steps in developing truly personalized medicine for melanoma," he said. "It's only going to get better from here."

Letitia Stein can be reached at lstein@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8330.

Moffitt Cancer Center research improves treatment of advanced melanoma 10/08/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally