Skin Cancers

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nanovaccine shows promise for variety of cancers

Laser light is scattered by nanoparticles
in a solution of the UTSW-developed
nanovaccine. – 
Photo courtesy UTSW
CANCER DIGEST – May 17, 2017 – In another approach using nanotechnology to boost the body’s immune system to attack cancer, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center, have shown in a proof-of-concept study that a nanovaccine extended survival in mouse models of a variety of cancers.

The study published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology showed effective anti-tumor action in tumor models of melanoma, colorectal cancer, and HPV-related cancers of the cervix, head, neck and anogenital cancers.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Immunotherapy combination shows promise in advanced melanoma

CANCER DIGEST – April 15, 2017 – A new treatment regiment using an immunotherapy drug combined with an engineered virus injected directly into a melanoma tumor have shown promising results in an early safety trial of the combination.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Promising drug may halt spread of deadly skin cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 6, 2017 – A potential new drug may block the spread of melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, by up to 90 percent, say researchers at the University of Michigan.

The drug developed originally to treat scleroderma, a rare but often fatal autoimmune disease, was found to be effective in blocking the genetic mechanism that triggers melanoma’s spread to other parts of the body.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Immunotherapy first may be best for advanced melanoma

CANCER DIGEST  – Nov. 6, 2016 – When it comes to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, what has worked best in recent years have been therapies based on the genetics of the cancer. For melanoma with mutations of the BRAF gene, there have been two approaches. Targeted therapies that seek to selectively kill the cancer and stop it from spreading, and immunotherapies that seek to boost the immune response the cancer.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Targeted therapy increases survival in melanoma patients with brain metastases

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123rf
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 24, 2016 – In a study comparing outcomes for patients whose melanoma skin cancer has spread to their brains, researchers have found that targeted immunological therapies halted the cancer progression and extended survival better than chemotherapy.

In a study published online Sept. 15 in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL analyzed data from 96 patients with melanoma brain metastases who were treated with radiation therapy within three months of three different types of targeted immune therapies or chemotherapy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Skin cancer screenings don’t boost referrals or surgeries

Melanoma can be cured if caught early. Image courtesy
Brown University
CANCER DIGEST – July 20, 2016 – A new study of more than 1,000 primary care melanoma screenings in the western Pennsylvania area suggests that such screenings would not be harmful as some experts had thought.

Melanoma is one of those cancers that can be cured if caught early, which has led to some experts calling for widespread training of primary care providers to conduct screenings at routine visits. Other experts, however, have worried that widespread screening could lead to overtreatment and unnecessary patient distress.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Viagra ingredient may fuel skin cancer growth

CANCER DIGEST – March 10, 2016 – The active ingredient in Viagra® can stimulate the growth of existing skin tumors, laboratory and animal studies show. Sildenafil is the ingredient used to treat erectile dysfunction and is the active ingredient in a number of other drugs, which have been on the market since the late 1990s. 

Researchers have long debated a possible link between sildenafil and cancer. A long-term study of some 15,000 men in the United States published in 2014 suggested that sildenafil was connected to a higher risk of malignant melanoma.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moles and melanoma what is the link?

CANCER DIGEST – Mar. 2, 2016 – Most patients with melanoma have few moles a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

In a Harvard School of Public Health study of 566 patients with melanoma Alan Geller and coauthors looked at the association between age, total moles and abnormal moles to see if there was a correlation between

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

First viral therapy for melanoma approved

CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 3, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec), the first FDA-approved anti-cancer virus therapy, for the treatment of melanoma in the skin and lymph nodes.
Imlygic is a genetically modified live herpes virus engineered to kill cancer cells. It is used to treat melanoma tumors that cannot be removed completely by surgery. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Melanoma rates double over past 30 years

CANCER DIGEST – June 5, 2015 – Melanoma rates doubled between 1982 and 2011 but comprehensive skin cancer prevention programs could prevent 20 percent of new cases between 2020 and 2030, according to a Centers for Disease Control report.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A type of vitamin B3 cuts risk of recurring non-melanoma skin cancers

CANCER DIGEST – May 14, 2015 – Taking a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide twice a day reduced the rates of new skin cancers in people who had previously been treated for non-melanoma skin by 23 percent, a new study shows.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Coffee may protect against malignant melanoma

"A small cup of coffee" by Julius Schorzman - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 20, 2015 – Could coffee protect against the most lethal type of skin cancer? A new population study shows that it may.

In a large study of 447,347 non-Hispanic white people who filled out dietary questionnaires in 1995 and 1996, researchers led by Erikka Loftfield, MPH of the National Cancer Institute, found that those with the highest intake of caffeinated coffee had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The results appear in today’s JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

FDA approves Opdivo for advanced melanoma

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 22, 2014 – The FDA  today granted accelerated approval to Opdivo (nivolumab), a new treatment for patients with melanoma that cannot be treated with surgery or have advanced disease who no longer respond to other drugs.

The FDA granted Opvido breakthrough therapy designation, priority review and orphan product designation because the sponsor demonstrated through preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Combination therapy boosts melanoma survival by 50 percent

CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 4, 2014 – Patients with metastatic melanoma who were treated with an unusual combination of an immunotherapy with an immune stimulant survived 50 percent longer compared to patients who received only the immunotherapy.

The study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists enrolled 245 patients with stage 3 or stage 4 metastatic melanoma who had been treated with other drugs. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Combination treatment boosts melanoma treatment

OncoLetter YouTube – Sep 29, 2012
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 25, 2014 – Patients with advanced stage melanoma had their cancer growth halted for an average of almost 10 months when treated with a combination therapy compared to a little more than 6 months for those treated with a single chemotherapy drug.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

FDA grants accelerated approval to Keytruda for melanoma

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 4, 2014 – The FDA granted fast-track approval to the first of a new class of drugs that promise to hold the key to turning off cancer cells’ ability to evade the body’s immune system.

The drug, pembrolizumab, was approved for treatment of advanced melanoma that is no longer responding to other drugs. It works by blocking a protein called PD-1, which cancer cells produce to restrict the immune system’s ability to attack melanoma cells. 

Marketed under the brand name Keytruda by Merck, it is intended for use following treatment with ipillmumab, an immunotherapy drug that acts on a gene mutation, BRAF V600, which triggers signals inside cells to rev up growth.

The FDA granted Keytruda breakthrough-therapy-status because Merck has demonstrated through preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. It allows patients access to the drug while the company conducts clinical trials to confirm the early results.

Keytruda showed its potential effectiveness in 173 clinical trial participants with advanced melanoma whose disease progressed after other treatments failed to halt it. All participants treated with either of two doses of Keytruda  responded. In the half of the participants who received Keytruda at the recommended dose of 2 mg/kg, approximately 24 percent had their tumors shrink. This effect lasted at least one to almost nine months and continued beyond nine months in most patients. A similar percentage of patients had their tumors shrink at the 10 mg/kg dose.

The most common side effects of Keytruda were fatigue, cough, nausea, itchy skin (pruritus), rash, decreased appetite, constipation, joint pain (arthralgia) and diarrhea, and has the potential to damage the lungs, colons and hormone-producing glands such as the liver, but this did not occur often. 

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