Dr. Chapman on Vemurafenib Combination Therapies

Dr. Chapman from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on Vemurafenib Combination Therapies

Paul Chapman, MD, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, discusses clinical trials with vemurafenib and the future combination therapies that will be available with the drug.

Vemurafenib is a BRAF enzyme inhibitor for the treatment of late-stage melanoma, specifically recommended for patients whose tumors have V600E mutations in the BRAF gene. It is estimated that this type of BRAF mutation is present in 50% of patients with melanoma.

Currently, there are already trials with other targeted agents and there are BRAF plus MEK inhibitor trials. In the future, there will be MEK inhibitor trials with drugs that block other pathways, like the PI3-Kinase Pathway.

An unprecedented aspect of the vemurafenib drug is that researchers believe they understand the mechanism of its action, which will allow them to develop combinations of therapy in a more rational way rather than the older practice of combining drugs in a way that might be thought helpful. With vemurafenib, doctors can make intelligent and more informed choices by knowing which pathways they have to block.

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