Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog



Melanoma Monday: 2021 Immunotherapy Research Updates

A research team including CRI CLIP Investigator Nir Hacohen, PhD, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard recently showed that melanoma patients with the best responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors often develop immune responses to antigens (epitopes) present on other cells of melanocyte lineage responsible for skin pigmentation and that become cancerous in melanoma.

Combining treatments that induce localized inflammation along with immune checkpoint inhibitors may represent a therapeutic option for patients with suboptimal responses when receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors alone, stimulating an immune response not only to the originally targeted tumors but also to other melanoma cancer cells elsewhere in the body.

This is one of several promising studies aiming to bring the benefits of immunotherapy to more melanoma patients. Today for Melanoma Monday, we look at new research, new treatments, and how we’re working toward a future immune to melanoma. 

Melanoma Treatment Landscape Update

At the 2020 CRI Virtual Immunotherapy Patient Summit, Dr. Jedd Wolchok discussed what patients with melanoma need to know about immunotherapy and answered audience questions about tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, combination treatments, and side effects, among other topics.

Melanoma Patient Perspective

How can patients and caregivers become informed decision-makers and advocate for themselves or their loved one during their treatment journeys? At the 2020 CRI Virtual Immunotherapy Patient Summit, we invited three cancer veterans to share their experiences, including Alan Kaufman, who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2017.

Melanoma Patient Story

In 2017, Isolde’s doctor broke the news that her melanoma had returned after 18 years—this time as stage 4. He also recommended a new treatment called pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which blocks the PD-1 immune checkpoint pathway and helps the immune system attack cancer cells. Six months after her first immunotherapy infusion, her tumors disappeared from all scans.

Read Isolde's Melanoma Story

Melanoma Researcher

This CRI Tech Impact Awardee Stephanie Kristin Dougan, PhD, has developed a new technology to coat a virus in pMHC complexes, molecular “loading docks” that enable the virus to enter tumor-targeting T cells only. This precise delivery of immunomodulatory cargo avoids bystander T cells, creating more efficient treatments designed to stimulate robust anti-cancer immune responses.

Discover Dr. Dougan's Melanoma Research

Immunotherapy for Melanoma
Info Update

On July 30, 2020, the U.S. FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with MEK and BRAF inhibitors for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma. As the research and treatment landscape evolves, we keep our information up to date.


Find a Melanoma Clinical Trial

A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs. Discover trials for which you or a loved one may be eligible with the CRI Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder.

FIND A Cancer Clinical TRIAL

Support Melanoma Research

Why do some melanoma patients not respond to immunotherapy? CRI Fellow Livnat Jerby-Arnon, PhD, (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard) is part of a research team investigating how cancer can evade the immune system. They have created a new tool combining two advanced technologies—CRISPR gene editing and single-cell RNA and protein sequencing—in a way that allows researchers to discover previously unknown resistance mechanisms. This Melanoma Monday, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.

DONATE to melanoma research

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