Immunotherapy & Chemotherapy – Two Different Approaches
We’ve all seen the movie where the heroic cancer patient bravely moves through treatment as she deals with nausea, hair loss, and other side effects. For many cancer patients this picture is true, however imprecise. Hollywood has conditioned us to equate cancer treatment with chemotherapy. Twenty years ago this narrative was more or less accurate, but in a world where immunotherapies and other new treatments are increasingly being used, this narrative isn’t keeping up with today’s reality. For some people with melanoma, this stuck-in-the-past narrative may even be deadly.
What’s Next in Melanoma Treatment?
Dr. Douglas Johnson, MRA Young Investigator awardee and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Melanoma Clinical Director at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, outlines three broad areas of current and future melanoma research.
Finding the Magic Formula
Modern immunotherapy, with melanoma as its poster child, is changing the way we treat cancer - for good. But, so far at least, it isn't helping everyone. Many scientists believe that there isn't a single silver bullet to unleash the awesome power of our immune systems - and instead - that the future of oncology is finding just the right combination of therapies that push and pull from different directions to multiply and enhance each other's effectiveness.
The Microbiome, is it the Deciding Factor for Immunotherapy Success?
It's been nearly seven years since the first FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitor for melanoma came on the market and doctors, researchers, and patients all keep asking: "who is most likely to benefit from immunotherapy? How can we make this work for more people?" Thankfully, the answer may be closer than we thought and the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other bugs - which make up our microbiome - may have something to say about it.
Creating a New Generation of Melanoma Models
We all can remember the eruption that happened when our 1st grade science teacher combined vinegar and baking soda together to represent a volcano. In some ways, this is just like experiments that take place every day in the search for better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for melanoma. In both instances, the researcher uses models to represent systems and phenomena that would otherwise be difficult or unethical to touch, see, or manipulate. Models are powerful things and we use them every day to make things easier to understand. In science, modeling is an essential component of our scientific process.
FDA Approves Nivolumab in Adjuvant Setting - Is it a Big Deal?
By Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., MRA Chief Science Officer | 21 December 2017 In News, Science, Treatment
The US FDA approved the use of nivolumab (Opdivo) in the adjuvant setting on December 20, 2017. This means that nivolumab may be used to treat melanoma patients with lymph node involvement or metastatic disease after complete surgical resection to reduce the risk of their disease recurring.
Introducing Clinical Trial Navigator: Start Searching Today
At MRA, we know that advancing science is our best bet in the fight against melanoma. More than 87,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and with these numbers on the rise, researchers are working harder than ever to find new and better treatment options. In fact, there are over 300 clinical trials happening in melanoma right now.
“Hands down, I’m alive today because of clinical trials”
Jamie Goldfarb didn’t think of herself as having cancer. Yes, she had been diagnosed with Stage II melanoma four years earlier and Stage III the following year, but the surgeries to remove it had been successful. The PET scans that followed had been normal. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Jamie was now a tired new mom with an eleven-week old baby and she was ready to get back to work. But, her world would turn upside down when she learned that not only was melanoma back, but it had progressed to Stage IV and spread to her liver and pancreas.
Changing the Status Quo: Four Landmark Studies and their Implication for Melanoma Treatment
The crown jewel of the Melanoma Research Alliance has always been—and will always be—good science. Through science, we not only gain a better understanding of melanoma, but the ability to translate that understanding into better treatments, which in turn lead to a better quality of life for people with melanoma. At MRA, solid scientific leadership is at the forefront of everything we do. That’s why the MRA Board of Directors was thrilled to hear a presentation by fellow Board member and world-class researcher, Dr. Suzanne Topalian, on four landmark studies and their implications for melanoma treatment.
Are Nanoparticles the Answer to the Question: Is it Working? An Interview with MRA Young Investigator, Dr. Ashish Kulkarni
When we think about cancer researchers, we don’t always think of engineers. Dr. Ashish Kulkarni proves that maybe, we should. His pioneering work as a chemical engineer is helping us answer the critical, yet difficult to answer question that is at the forefront of every patient’s mind as they start treatment: ‘is it working?’