I thought we'd see some up action today from this exciting report.
"Penn study makes breakthrough in shrinking tumors of terminal melanoma patients
By Marie McCullough Inquirer Staff Writer
In a major advance against the deadliest type of skin cancer, a genetically targeted drug shrank tumors throughout the bodies of 80 percent of patients with terminal melanoma.
The study, led by the University of Pennsylvania and conducted at seven medical centers, is the first to successfully exploit a molecular abnormality found in about half of melanoma tumors, but not in healthy cells.
"This is the beginning of personalized medicine in melanoma," said senior author Paul Chapman, a melanoma researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City.
The drug - called PLX4032 until developers Plexxikon Inc. and Roche Pharmaceuticals give it a name - is the second recent breakthrough against a disease that had not had one in 20 years. In June, researchers reported that ipilimumab, an immune-stimulating drug being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Medarex Inc., extended survival for patients whose melanoma had metastasized from the skin to internal organs.
PLX4032 targets a mutation in a growth-promoting gene called BRAF. Research indicates that 40 percent to 60 percent of melanoma patients - and 8 percent of all cancers - have this BRAF gene mutation, according to the study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine."