GlaxoSmithKline’s new advanced melanoma drug Trametinib has been shown to prolong a patients life according to a study conducted by Dr. Caroline Robert and revealed on Sunday at a new conference for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
According to Dr. Robert the drug was better at keeping the disease from worsening when compared to chemotherapy.
Melanoma can usually be cured by surgically removing skin lesions, however once it spreads to other parts of the body it can be hard to fight, that is where Trametinib comes into play, helping prolong a cancer patients life span.
Trametinib is meant to block the effects of a gene mutation called BRAF which spurs tumor growth. It also blocks a protein called MEK which is downstream from the BRAF mutation and also spurs tumor growth.
While more research is still required researchers believe blocking MEK might be an alternative to BRAF blocking. While Trametinib is meant to block MEK it is only focused at this time on patients with the BRAF mutation.
The Glaxo sponsored trial in 2011 involved 322 patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma who received the drug or one of two chemotherapy treatments. The study found that Trametinib patients saw their disease worsen after 4.8 months compared to just 1.5 months for chemotherapy.
The study also found that 81 percent of trametinib patients were still alive after six months compared to 67 percent of chemotherapy patients.
Researchers discovered that the survival rate for Trametinib was high even when a chemotherapy patients switched to the advanced melanoma drug half way through treatment.