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NCI Cancer Center News

BRAF inhibitor treatment causes melanoma cells to shift how they produce energy

  • Posted: March 11, 2013

A multi-institutional study has revealed that BRAF-positive metastatic malignant melanomas develop resistance to treatment with drugs targeting the BRAF/MEK growth pathway through a major change in metabolism. The findings, which will be published in Cancer Cell and have been released online, suggest a strategy to improve the effectiveness of currently available targeted therapies. In about half the cases of malignant melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – tumor growth is driven by mutations in the BRAF gene. Research by investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (a component of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) and elsewhere has shown that treatment with drugs that block BRAF activity temporarily halts tumor growth.

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NCI comprehensive cancer centers logoAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.