A new melanoma drug developed by Australian researchers offers a ray of hope for those suffering from brain metastases commonly known as brain tumor. As per data collected from an phase I/II study and published in The Lancet; a British medical journal on Friday (May 18th), the new drug shows great promise in shrinking brain tumors in melanoma patients.
The researchers’ teams from the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and Sydney’s Westmead Hospital have developed the experimental drug, which is able to add crucial months to the lives of patients with brain melanoma. It may be noted that in advanced melanoma cancer, the tumor has already spread to the brain. When that happens, a patient does not survive beyond four months.
The results of the trial by Australian researchers showed significant shrinking of brain tumors in cancer stricken patients treated with the drug, Dabrafenib. It also showed promise against secondary melanoma tumors, or metastases, in the brain. This experimental drug was able to increase the patients’ life span up-to five months and in some cases they were able to survive even beyond 19 months. Basically the drug, Dabrafenib blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutated gene called BRAF, which is found in about half of melanoma cases.
Speaking about the trial, lead researcher Georgina Long, a medical oncologist, said that the researchers recruited 184 patients who were suffering from varied forms of melanoma cancer. Among them were ten patients suffering from brain tumors, which is known as metastases.
The outcome of the trial using drug Dabrafenib, was remarkable. In five patients the brain metastases had shrunk, and one had stable disease, whereas the tumors remained the same size. "The results across all the patients in the study were phenomenal . . . until now there has not been a single drug that has shrunk brain metastases", declared an elated Long.
Even experts not involved in the trial opine the drug is impressive and showed promise. The research result is a great step forward for brain cancer research and offers hope of survival for patients, suffering from brain metastases, in the future.
Source: Chicago Tribune/Top News.
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