Thursday, May 22, 2014

New FDA-approved drugs offer hope for melanoma

YouTube courtesy of Hashem
CANCER DIGEST – May 22, 2014 – Since 2011 the FDA has approved two  melanoma drugs, Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Tafinlar (dabrafenib), and a combination treatment using Mekinist (trametinib) and Tafinlar, which have shown in clinical trials to shrink tumors in about half of melanoma patients. In another clinical trial using Zelboraf and Yervoy (ipilimumab) patients lived longer than if they had received conventional chemotherapy.  Yervoy is a new class of immunotherapy approved for melanoma that cannot be treated with surgery. It blocks a normal protein that thwarts certain immune system cells, called T cells. Yervoy helps the T cells recognize the cancer cells and attack them. All of these drugs appear to work in people whose tumors have a specific gene mutation, called BRAF V600E. By blocking the mutated gene the tumor stops growing and the T cells are able to kill the cancer cells.

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