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WCCS/EADO 2016 | Using mouse models to develop drugs targeting resistance mechanisms in melanoma

Clemens Krepler, MD of the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, discusses his work on BRAF inhibition in melanoma. 50% of melanomas have mutations in BRAF, which is a great biomarker. He highlights that most of patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma initially do respond to therapy, where their tumors shrink. However, after a few months, patients relapse. This is due to several resistance mechanisms; if it was as a result of just one resistance mechanism, it would be relatively easy to design a drug for second-line therapy. However, this is not the case as there are a lot of mechanisms which are often in parallel. Prof. Krepler has been using mouse models to model these resistance mechanisms, using a piece of a tumor from a patient that has relapsed on therapy. This tumor is grown in the lab, with mice without an immune system. Drugs directed against these mechanisms are then developed to cure the mice, and this will hopefully be used to help patients.
Recorded at the 2016 World Congress on Cancers of the Skin (WCCS) and the Congress of the European Association of Dermato-Oncology (EADO) in Vienna, Austria.