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Science and technology news - Skin cancer


UCLA scientists develop an algorithm that correctly predicts which patients respond to a new life-saving melanoma drug

Dr. Paul Tumeh and Dr. Antoni Ribas

Image: Dr. Paul Tumeh and Dr. Antoni Ribas


In September 2014 the FDA approved the use of the drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) which has been very successful for treating patients with advanced melanoma. However, only 30 percent of patients respond to the drug.
Based on the analysis of biopsies from patients with advanced melanoma, the UCLA researchers, Dr. Paul Tumeh and Dr. Antoni Ribas (in collaboration with Dr. David Elashoff) successfully developed an algorithm that correctly predicts which patients respond to the drug.
How pembrolizumab works: A protein known as PD-1 ("Programmed cell death protein 1") causes the immune system to stop attacking cancer cells; pembrolizumab removes this effect, enabling the immune system to kill cancer cells.


Image: 3D molecular image of Human Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor


Next-gen melanoma drug, TAK-733, shows anti-cancer activity in 10 out of 11 patient tumor samples

In a study using patient-derived tumor samples grown in mice, University of Colorado Cancer Center researcher John Tentler, PhD, and colleagues, used the experimental drug TAK-733 and reported anti-cancer activity in 10 out of 11 patient tumor samples, with tumors shrinking up to 100 percent.

According to Tentler, TAK-733 may offer substantial improvements over FDA approved BRAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib and MEK inhibitors such as trametinib.

Image: 3D molecular image of B-Raf protein ("serine/threonine-protein kinase B-Raf")


Handheld hyperspectral imager may find applications in detecting skin cancer


OCI-1000 Handheld Hyperspectral Imager


The handheld device, OCI-1000 by BaySpec, which was a Prism Award Finalist in 2014, acquires continuous VNIR (visible and near-infrared) data and provides a detailed view of the spectrum for every point in the image. Weighing only 0.5 lb (227 g) it has many potential applications, including the use in outpatient medical clinics to check for skin cancer.



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Last modified: January-13-2015