Melanoma has hope at last

Yesterday, I worked at the annual "Run for Cover" 5K run in Philly sponsored by my family's melanoma foundation — Noreen O'Neill Foundation for Melanoma Research…it went well, upbeat, fun; yet, when you look around so many groups running were from families who had lost someone. 

One the major benefactors of the money the foundation raises is the Wistar Institute. The link I am sharing is from Dr Herlyn, the lead researcher and a wonderful, brilliant, compassionate person. He speaks of some unusual aspects of the cancer and a new discovery around diabetes drugs aiding melanoma treatments – http://www.wistar.org/news-and-media/press-releases/diabetes-drug-points-the-way-overcoming-drug-resistance-melanoma.

This disease is really insidious. And it hits the young hard — a generation of sun worship has not helped anyone. I met a young woman, 21, who just randomly had her skin checked and found a melanoma — no, not a skin cancer, a melanoma. 

This is an example of where those of us in healthcare marketing bring the personal mission to our work — knowing we may have the chance to impact lives creates an unerring North Star for your work.

Dr Herlyn spoke of the great advancement in treatment after 20 years of almost nothing — BMS, Roche, others, all working hard to whittle down the deaths. He also made the point that GSK new MEK — says it has potential to be more effective that current treatments in the BRAF family. Here's some news on GSK MEK therapy: 

"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first cancer drug to inhibit a protein — called MEK — that acts in a pathway that fuels tumour growth. The drug, called Mekinist (trametinib), was approved on 29 May for use in advanced melanomas with specific mutations. Other MEK-targeting drugs are being studied in a wide range of tumours, including lung and thyroid cancers.

The FDA approved Mekinist together with another drug, called Tafinlar (dabrafenib), which targets cancer-driving mutant forms of a protein called BRAF. The agency also approved a medical test for those BRAF mutations. BRAF inhibitors, one of which is already on the market, elicit rapid and dramatic responses, in some cases wiping away nearly all signs of the disease. But the responses are short-lived, and the drugs boost survival by only a few months.

Hopes are high that Mekinist and Tafinlar, both made by GlaxoSmithKline, will eventually be approved for use in combination — and that the combination will lengthen patient survival more than either drug would individually."

HOPE!!!!

Visual.ly has a good infographic we all should study, not as professionals but as parents, children, people who care for others health. 

http://visual.ly/melanoma-skin-cancer

As Summer hits high gear, do yourself and loves one's the favor -- get your skin checked!