Researchers Study Common Melanoma Treatment

Faisal Anwar’s latest blog:

UCLA recently wrote an article on treating advanced melanoma tumors, trying to prevent and cure their deadly consequences for patients. The studies took place at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, which has hundreds of researchers and doctors working tirelessly to find effective methods for preventing cancer growth.  UCLA’s Cancer Center is one of the top research facilities in the country and continues to help cancer patients fight the spread of cancerous cells and tumors. Currently, one such study UCLA have worked on is how the use of BRAF inhibitors impacts early and advanced stages of melanoma.

Melanoma growth occurs through the spread of BRAF mutations in a patient’s body. One treatment option discussed in the article (the use of BRAF inhibitors) is commonly known to impede the cancer from spreading by shrinking the melanoma tumors.  The problem with this form of treatment, as UCLA suggests, is that usually the BRAF inhibitors, while shrinking the tumors, leave behind cancerous cells that often end up re-growing into deadly tumors.


Scientists and researchers at UCLA study using BRAF inhibitors as an effective treatment for melanoma.

The scientists and doctors at UCLA’s cancer center have studied this form of treatment in order to understand why BRAF inhibitors leave behind cancerous cells.  Using BRAF inhibitors is believed to be an effective course of treatment, but the treatment fails when it doesn’t remove all the cancerous cells in the patient’s body. Therefore, UCLA sought to understand how to solve this problem by performing studies on BRAF inhibitors and melanoma treatments.

In these two studies, doctors took biopsies from a number of patients with advanced stage melanoma cancer. They were able to see that BRAF mutations find ways to resist the BRAF inhibitors by using certain signaling routes. Unfortunately, some patients can have multiple resistance paths for these mutations to follow.

The doctors also realized that BRAF mutations learn how to adapt early to these resistance pathways and can therefore resist treatment during earlier stages of tumor growth. This leads to BRAF mutations escaping from inhibitors and causing tumors to re-grow sometimes rapidly. The doctors found that although BRAF inhibitors appears to be at first an effective course of treatment for especially early forms of melanoma tumors, it becomes less effective for the more advanced stages.

via Faisal Anwar Virginia


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