These are the best types of posts to write: On Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two genetically-targeted melanoma therapies as well as a companion diagnostic test that will be used to determine which patients’ tumors carry the specific genetic mutations the treatments target. GlaxoSmithKline’s Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) are designed for patients whose tumors express different types of BRAF mutations, mutations present in approximately half of all melanoma tumors.
The approvals mark a milestone in the fight against melanoma, expanding the arsenal of new weapons available to patients and their doctors from two to four, and highlighting the extraordinary progress being made in the melanoma research field. With one person diagnosed with melanoma every eight minutes in the U.S., one person dying every hour, and incidence rising at an alarming rate, new melanoma treatments are urgently needed.
MRA’s scientific team is headed off to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting this weekend in Chicago. We expect more exciting melanoma research news will come out during the meeting, building on the tremendous momentum in the field. Researchers, clinicians and industry leaders are exploring multiple genetically-targeted, immunotherapeutic and combinatorial approaches to combat melanoma, and the dramatic acceleration of the pace of discovery in melanoma is also fueling progress in other types of cancer, making melanoma a “case study” for new approaches to therapy. You can follow all of the melanoma news coming out of ASCO by going to MRA’s Melanoma at ASCO Portal.
We are thrilled with these new treatment options, and hope to have many exciting days ahead in the battle against melanoma.