Ravi Amaravadi, MD and Leslie Fecher, MD, discuss melanoma drug trial -- Will Chemotherapy Become a Thing of the Past?

May 19, 2010

Globe and Mail

Ravi Amaravadi, MD, and Leslie Fecher, MD, assistant professors in the division of Hematology/Oncology, are quoted in a (Toronto) Globe and Mail article about a melanoma drug trial aimed at slowing or stopping the specific genetic mutations that fuel the deadly cancer's growth. A patient of Fecher's, who travels to the Abramson Cancer Center from his home in Toronto to participate in the study, is also profiled. In trials conducted at Penn and other sites around the nation, the drug known as PLX4032 has been shown to give patients with the metastatic melanoma -- some who are near death at the start of the study -- an average of six months more of life. "Yes, there are questions around it," Amaravadi says. "But this has a 70-to-80-per-cent response rate, which is melting tumours away in front of our eyes." Fecher says that response rate is higher than has been seen in other agents that have been studied for the disease, bringing new hope to clinicians and patients alike. But no single path is likely to be definitive, she says. Figuring out which mutations fuel a particular cancer's growth is a sneaky game of tag: The disease will find new pathways, spurring more investigations for more drugs to shut or slow them down... read more