Vaccines 2021—Major Advances in Preventing Death from Infection and Malignancy

By Kim Margolin, M.D., FACP, FASCO Vaccine background and brief history The word “vaccine” comes from the Latin word vacca for “cow” and relates to early research by Edward Jenner that found people who had cowpox virus infection were protected against later smallpox infection. “To vaccinate” thus became the verb used to describe the process of using the material from … Read More

What is Translational Medicine?

By Maria Libera Ascierto, MS, PhD Associate Professor Translational Cancer Immunology Director “The Rosalie and Harold R Brown Cancer Immunotherapy” Program Providence Saint John’s Cancer Institute One issue in medicine is the lack of connection that can sometimes exist between the clinic—where patients are seen and treated—and the laboratory—where research is conducted. This lack of connection is often a translation … Read More

In Plain English—COVID-19, the vaccines, and melanoma: What do melanoma patients and their families need to know?

  By Kim Margolin, M.D. Coronavirus is novel (new), and the vaccines are even newer, so little melanoma-specific information is available. But there are some data, and we will share what is known. We’ll also share what is known about COVID-19 and other cancers, which provides useful information in thinking about the similarities and differences to melanoma. In this article, … Read More

In Plain English: What is a “Triplet,” and Why Does it Matter in Melanoma?

By Kim Margolin, M.D. A “triplet” is the casual term to describe the combination of three drugs to treat cancer. Multiple two-drug combinations (“doublets”) are approved to treat melanoma, but only recently have clinical trials tested triplets. One of those triplets has been newly approved to treat BRAF-mutant melanoma. Two of the three drugs are targeted therapies, and the third … Read More

In Plain English: What’s New in Stage II?

  There is news to report in the world of Stage II melanoma, but first, let’s review the basics of Stage II and the current treatment landscape. Stage II is localized melanoma—there is no indication it has spread to lymph nodes or distant organs, but it has grown from the epidermis (the top layer of skin) into the dermis (the … Read More

In Plain English: Options for Stage III Melanoma

Our new guide, Options for Stage III Melanoma: Making the Decision That’s Right for You, is written for patients, families, and caregivers, in language all of us can understand. It’s a thorough exploration of all of the options for Stage III patients, and the many considerations of each option, including side effects, fertility issues, financial issues, and drug administration. This … Read More

In Plain English: The Keynote 716 Clinical Trial

As of this writing, there are 477 clinical trials in melanoma on ClinicalTrial.gov that are actively recruiting patients—and another 65 not yet recruiting. It’s a staggering number of trials—exactly what we need in melanoma—but staggering nonetheless. One of these trials is particularly exciting because it’s the first of its kind. Called Keynote 716, this two-part study will evaluate the safety … Read More