Maurie Markman MD or, as I refer to him, "M&M" understands what counts.

What's that, you ask?

It's the value of “reassurance” given to a patient following a “positive” or “negative” test result tha
t suggests either the absence or lack of progression of a cancer, independent of any objective population-based clinical trial evidence that such a test result favorably affects survival.

M&M gets it.


Mark G. Kris, MD, chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, discusses a phase I/II trial examining the combination of two investigational targeted therapies for patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma.

Kris believes this trial showcases the changes taking place in cancer care, as a result of the molecular revolution. Traditionally, adding two therapies together was thought to also combine and increase the side effects. However, this trial demonstrated that the combination of the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib actually resulted in fewer adverse events. More importantly, Kris feels, the secondary cancers that are common with BRAF inhibitors were also decreased.

Kris notes that these findings are the exact opposite of what has been observed in the past and calls for reeducation of what is now possible.

The combination trial was presented by Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting and was one of many trials presented at the meeting that highlighted molecular advances. View Coverage From ASCO 2012.

Every year more than 53,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with melanoma, making it the fastest growing cancer both in the United States and worldwide, especially among young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 years. While melanoma is treatable when detected in the early stages, it causes almost 8,000 deaths annually. There have been few effective options for managing metastatic melanoma, resulting in a 5-year mortality rate of 40%-75% for regional metastases and 85% to 90% for distant metastases. Recent research in targeted therapy, such as B-Raf inhibitors, MEK inhibitors, and immunotherapy, has shown promising results and may lead to improved outcomes. Agents such as dabrafenib, vemurafenib, and ipilimumab are being studied in combination and in sequence to determine the most effect treatment strategy, and research presented at the 2012 American Society of ClinicalOncology Annual Meeting may provide insight on future avenues of therapy. Read more...

Antoni Ribas UCLA melanoma - Dr. Ribas is a physician-scientist conducting laboratory and clinical research focused in malignant melanoma. His research includes:

  • laboratory and clinical translational research in adoptive cell transfer therapy with T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered lymphocytes
  • understanding the antitumor activity of CTLA4-blocking antibodies
  • molecular imaging and advanced immune monitoring for the study of tumor immunotherapy
  • the laboratory and clinical testing of novel targeted therapies blocking oncogenic events in melanoma and their use as immune sensitizers
  • the clinical application of nanoparticle delivery of siRNA.

Jeff Sosman Vanderbilt melanoma - Dr. Sosman directs the Melanoma Program (skin cancer) which is a highly integrated effort between oncology, dermatology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology. This program provides patients with a thorough multi-disciplinary evaluation of their disease and cutting edge treatment options
Paul Chapman Memorial Sloan Kettering melanoma  - Dr. Chapman is a physician-scientist and specialist in melanoma that has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body, I care for patients with this cancer in the clinic and search for new therapies to control and cure the disease. Since joining Memorial Sloan-Kettering in 1988, Chapman has diagnosed and treated thousands of patients with metastatic melanoma. This aggressive type of cancer begins in specialized pigment cells and spreads from its original site to lymph nodes, and eventually to other parts of the body.

Jed Wolchak Memorial Sloan Kettering melanoma - Dr. Wolchak is a medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of melanoma. I am interested in finding new and improved ways to prevent melanoma from recurring after surgery, as well as more effective treatments for the disease when it does recur. My research is focused on the development of innovative ways to use the immune system to treat cancer.

Keith Flaherty Massachusetts General Hospital melanoma - Dr. Keith Flaherty is the director of the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies. Dr. Flaherty and his exceptional team of clinicians and scientists are spearheading research into promising new treatment options for patients through phase I clinical investigation.
Steven Rosenberg NIH melanoma - Dr. Rosenberg is the Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md., and a Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. Dr. Rosenberg received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University. After completing his residency training in surgery in 1974 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass., Dr. Rosenberg became Chief of Surgery at NCI, a position he has held to the present time.


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