Wednesday, June 19, 2013

List of Inspirational Cancer Blogs at "Navigating Cancer" Website

Cancer can affect any organ but the underlying biology and signaling may have strong similarities. Thus one drug targeting a particular signaling pathway may work in multiple cancers.

But patients and their family often seek experiences that relate specifically to them. Someone who has kidney cancer would want to know how another kidney cancer patient is coping with such unexpected and unwanted diagnosis. They may be less interested in the experiences of those with stomach or colon cancer even though the molecular drivers may be similar.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BRCA Freed from Myriad's Patents, Supreme Court Rules

The Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling invalidated Myriad's patents on BRCA opening up the field for cheaper testing for the breast cancer risk genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Myriad was criticized for selling $3000 tests and blocking mon-n-pop University labs to run similar tests at fraction of the cost.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

GSK Receives FDA Approval for Melanoma Drugs Dabrafenib and Trametinib

The approval of two new melanoma drugs TAFINLAR® (dabrafenib) and MEKINIST™ (trametinib) by the FDA this week is timely for melanoma patients whose tumors often develop resistance to other targeted therapies, such as Zelboraf. 

Dabrafenib is indicated for patients with BRAF V600E mutation. Another drug, vemurafenib (aka ZELBORAF) by Genentech which was approved in January 2011 also targets the same protein. BRAF V600E is an always-on signaling protein found in majority of melanomas. (Read more about vemurafenib or BRAF V600E here.)

The second drug, trametinib is the first MEK inhibitor to be approved for melanoma.  Unlike dabrafenib or vemurafenib, this drug's target is downstream of BRAF kinase and, thus trametinib can complement the other two drugs in clinical practice. Both drugs will be available by prescription in Fall 2013.