New Drugs to Treat Drug-Resistant Melanoma on the Horizon

Scientists in the United Kingdom recently uncovered a new ‘family' of drugs called padRAF inhibitors that are effective in treating melanoma patients who are resistant to BRAF inhibitors.

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute recently uncovered a new ‘family’ of drugs called padRAF inhibitors that are effective in treating melanoma patients who are resistant to BRAF inhibitors.

According to study results published in the journal Cancer Cell, the team of researchers, using mice models, showed that 2 panRAF inhibitors, CCT196969 and CCT241161, successfully stopped BRAF-driven melanoma development regardless of whether the melanomas had already developed BRAF-inhibitor resistance. The researchers noted these compounds were also capable of halting tumor progression in cancers that were never responsive to BRAF inhibitors — nearly 20% of all melanoma cases.

The study’s co-author, Caroline Springer, Professor of Biological Chemistry at The Institute of Cancer Research, London commented, “Melanomas often respond initially to the current generation of treatments, but they inevitably acquire resistance to them and there is a desperate need for more effective options. Our new inhibitors are the first in a new family of drugs that attack cancers without allowing them the get-out clause of drug resistance, by blocking multiple cancer proteins at once.”

Springer added,“We are very hopeful that clinical trials from this series of new inhibitors will begin very soon — and that they will ultimately become new first or second-line options for patients who, at the moment, exhaust all the available treatments and end up with fatal disease.”

In a news release that accompanied publication of the study results, the study’s other co-author, Richard Marais, Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, concluded, “Our laboratory study showed that these new drugs deliver multiple blows to cancer by hitting several cell survival routes at once. It’s a step on from the drugs that are currently available which can’t multitask in this way. The next step is testing this family of drugs in clinical trials to establish that they are both safe and effective in cancer patients, potentially providing urgently-needed new treatments for patients who have run out of options. The trial is set to open soon and we await the results with great interest.”