New Immunotherapy, MK-3475, Shows Promise for Metastatic Melanoma

ASCO Annual Meeting
June 2, 2014

According to the results of a large phase I study, a new drug called MK-3475 may benefit people with melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body. MK-3475 blocks the function of a protein called PD-1 (programmed death-1) found on T-cells, a type of white blood cell that directly helps fight disease. Because PD-1 keeps the immune system from destroying cancer cells, stopping PD-1 from working allows the immune system to better eliminate melanoma.

Targeted Therapy, Dabrafenib, Keeps Melanoma From Worsening Longer Than Chemotherapy

Researchers found that the drug dabrafenib reduced the risk of melanoma worsening and the risk of death from the disease when compared with chemotherapy in a new, large study of melanoma. Dabrafenib is a targeted drug. This treatment targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Specifically, dabrafenib targets a mutation (change) in the BRAF gene, which is known to fuel melanoma growth. Another drug recently used for melanoma, vemurafenib (Zelboraf), also targets the BRAF mutation.


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