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2012 Research

Our IMWG continues its work to accelerate the development of new and more effective therapies. 


2011 was a ground-breaking year with the approval of two new treatment drugs for melanoma - ipilimumab (Yervoy) and vemurafenib (Zelboraf) - but research goes on to develop new and more effective melanoma drugs for the CURE.


A paper by seven of our IMWG members has recently been published in the prestigious Clinical Cancer Research Journal - "New Challenges in Endpoints for Drug Development in Advanced Cancer."  This paper summarizes discussions that have taken place over a series of IMWG meetings and will ultimately lead to better drugs and combinations of drugs getting approved more rapidly.  To read the article in its entirety, click here.


The work of our IMWG continues on two major research efforts - our International Brain Metastases Tissue Bank and Clinical Trial.  The establishment of these research protocols will assist in unraveling many questions presently related to the benefit and resistance patterns of many new therapeutic approaches.


In conjunction with its partners, our IMWG continues, through tissue banking, clinical trials, and research, to seek out those agents while ensuring that they more quickly reach the patients who need them.


International Brain Metastases Tissue Bank

As new drugs are approved, brain metastasis continue to be a major challenge in melanoma and one of the least understood aspects of melanoma.  More than half of all melanoma deaths occur from brain metastasis.


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.


International Brain Metastases Clinical Trial

This trial launched 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 role of BRAF in brain metastasis, 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 pave the way in the search for new combinations of targeted therapies and immunotherapies to fight brain metastases.