- News Releases
CHICAGO — In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable. They say their findings, being presented June 2 at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), offered several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma. “This was the first robust assessment to determine the impact of baseline tumor size on clinical endpoints in patients with metastatic melanoma — in particular — those receiving MK-3475. Our findings suggest the location of spread is less important than the amount of tumor that is present before treatment,” says the study’s lead investigator, Richard W. Joseph, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Journalists: Broadcast sound bites with Dr. Joseph are available in the downloads. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8PYNOBQyhM&feature=youtu.be
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered an enzyme they say is tightly linked to how aggressive pancreatic cancer will be in a patient. They say the study, published in Molecular Cancer Research, provides key insights into the most aggressive form of the disease, which is one of the deadliest human cancers. It also offers a number of possible future clinical advances, such as a way to gauge outcome in individual patients, and insight into potential therapy to shut down activity of the enzyme, known as Rac1b. “The implication from our research is that Rac1b is activating unique pathways in pancreatic tumors that make this cancer aggressive. If we can therapeutically target that pathway, we may be able to have an impact on this very difficult-to-treat disease,” says the study’s senior investigator, Derek Radisky, Ph.D., a researcher with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Fla. A potential drug target would have to be found within the cancer-causing pathways activated by Rac1b, since the enzyme is difficult to target because it is involved in many normal biological processes, Dr. Radisky says. He and his colleagues are now working to uncover how Rac1b ramps up pancreatic cancer progression. The RAC1 superfamily of proteins — which play important regulatory roles in cell growth and cell movement — have been implicated in other cancers, such as melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer, but before this study, no one knew that one sub-form, Rac1b, played a role in pancreatic cancer.