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2011 Research


In 2011, our IMWG embarked on projects to accelerate development of new and more effective therapies.


International Brain Metastases Tissue Bank

This bank is the first of its kind and will be shared by IMWG researchers around the world.  Our IMWG is committed to the acquisition, analysis, and banking of tissue.


Brain metastases have always been a challenge in melanoma and is one of the least understood aspects of melanoma.  More than half of all melanoma patients will develop brain metastases.


Our IMWG sponsored a paper by Dr. John Kirkwood, IMWG chairperson, in the October 2011 issue of Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research.  In the article, Dr. Kirkwood explains the importance of a brain metastases tissue bank since the molecular structure of brain metastases differs from metastases in other parts of the body.


International Brain Metastases Clinical Trial

This trial is launching in conjunction with the tissue bank and will study the effects of BRAF inhibitors in brain metastases.  Thirty (30) patients at three sites who have operable brain metastases will receive the BRAF inhibitor for 7-10 days prior to surgery and will continue to receive the drug post-surgery.

The goal is to more precisely determine the roll and response to BRAF, and to closely analyze the molecular differences between brain metastases and metastases occurring in other body areas.


As a related part of this trial, investigators will study various drug combinations targeting BRAF, MEK, and BRAF or MEK with P13K or AXT inhibitors.  These investigations will help pave the way in the search for new combinations of targeted therapies and immunotherapies to fight brain metastases.


The establishment of the International Brain Metastases Tissue Bank and Clinical Trial will hopefully assist in unraveling many questions presently related to the benefit and resistance of many of these new therapeutic approaches.


As we continue into 2012, our IMWG will explore additional research areas related to these topics.  It will expand its endeavors to increase understanding of the disease and accelerate development of more effective therapies.