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New molecular targets identified in some hard-to-treat melanomas provide potential treatment option
Date:12/31/2013

December 30, 2013 New York, NY / Los Angeles, CA: Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the charitable initiative supporting ground-breaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe, announces that Jeffrey A. Sosman, M.D., a Stand Up To Cancer Melanoma Dream Team investigator, William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., a 2009 Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant recipient and colleagues identified two novel BRAF fusions in melanomas previously considered to be negative for molecular targets, and that melanomas with these fusions were found to be potentially sensitive to anticancer drugs called MEK inhibitors, according to a study recently published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

According to Dr. Sosman, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn., "About 35 percent of melanomas are, as of today, considered 'pan-negative,' which means they are devoid of any previously known driver mutations in the genes BRAF, NRAS, KIT, GNAQ, and GNA11." Dr. Sosman explained that at Vanderbilt, researchers have been interested in looking at patients whose tumors have none of these driver mutations, to see what their tumors do have that can be targeted therapeutically. In some cancers, two or more genes fuse erroneously to produce abnormal proteins, which can function as the "drivers" of those cancers.

"Performing a sophisticated analysis called targeted next-generation sequencing, it appears that about 8 percent of pan-negative melanomas have BRAF fusions," said Sosman. "Our results are important because they obviously suggest that there probably are other, as yet unidentified, molecular changes that make these melanomas susceptible to drugs that are available right now."

"It is very exciting to see work of Stand Up To Cancer funded researchers yield important results which advance our understanding of cancers and accelerate the scien
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert  

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New molecular targets identified in some hard-to-treat melanomas provide potential treatment option
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