- News & Updates
- News & Updates
News & Updates
– April 2018: Acral/Mucosal Melanoma Trial seeks participants
– March 2018: Development group being formed for next phase of mucosal melanoma guidelines
– August 2017: Melanoma working group rejects NHS drug retreatment rules
– June 2017: AVAST-M Clinical Trial final results announced
– May 2017: Patient Decision Aid launched
– March 2017: Melanoma treatments: new drug combo restrictions lifted
– January 2017: Melanoma World Society Newsletters
– June 2016: NICE approves combination immunotherapy treatment for melanoma
– June 2015: Patient Impact Programme award to Newcastle University for melanoma ulceration study
– June 2015: Survey finds the public are confused by sunscreen labelling
– January 2015: Review of smartphone melanoma apps recommends caution
– January 2015: Melanoma Focus guidelines for uveal melanoma accredited by NICE
– January 2015: Encouraging results announced for new immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab
– November 2013: Follow-up of high risk cutaneous melanoma cases: key paper released
– October 2013: Sunbeds: an ASA Ruling
- April 2018: Acral/Mucosal Melanoma Trial seeks participants
Melanoma Focus is pleased to support a study named PIANO, which is now open at eight UK cancer centres. PIANO will assess a treatment for patients with advanced acral and mucosal melanoma. Acral melanoma affects the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, while mucosal melanoma occurs in the mucous membrane in the sino-nasal/head & neck or ano-uro-genital regions.
This is a small trial that aims to recruit up to 24 eligible patients with the KIT mutation. As with all trials for rare forms of melanoma, finding sufficient suitable participants is a challenge. Anyone who is interested in learning more about this study should contact Richard Hutson, Clinical Trials Project Manager, at the Manchester Academic Science Centre: 0161 918 2496 or email@example.com.
- March 2018: Development group being formed for next phase of mucosal melanoma guidelines
Melanoma Focus is now inviting applications to join the Guideline Development Group (GDG) for the second phase of its Mucosal Melanoma Guidelines initiative. This work, which will be led by Professor Kevin Harrington of the Institute of Cancer Research on behalf of the charity, will address sino-nasal/head & neck mucosal melanoma.
This follows the success of the first phase, led by Professor Martin Gore, which is currently being completed and is expected to be published shortly.
For more information about this initiative, including details of the disease and how to apply to be considered for membership of the phase II GDG, please click here.
- August 2017: Melanoma working group rejects NHS drug retreatment rules
In a letter to NHS England by Dr Pippa Corrie, the NHSE Melanoma Working Group gives its reasons for not approving new NHS rules on funding melanoma drugs when therapy is re-started after a break in treatment.
The rules have ‘caused great concern and unhappiness across the oncology community’, Dr Corrie comments. Later in the letter she points out: ‘An unintended consequence of these new rules… may well be that patients are denied access to efficacious treatments, with consequent reduction in their survival’.
To see the letter in full – and also a link for registering as a stakeholder in consultation on this issue – click here.
- June 2017: AVAST-M Clinical Trial final results announced
The AVAST-M Trial was one of the largest melanoma trials ever undertaken, involving 1,343 patients at 48 UK hospitals between between 2007 and 2012. Final results were released at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology conference.
Click here to see the patient newsletter summarising the findings, together with comments by the Trial Chief Investigator, Dr Pippa Corrie.
- May 2017: Patient Decision Aid launched
After eight months’ work, Melanoma Focus has launched its Patient Decision Aid (PDA), which is designed to inform people about melanoma and guide patients through the decisions they will need to take during their treatment. By helping people to understand their options, this new online tool will improve the effectiveness of conversations between melanoma specialists and their patients. A smartphone app version is planned in due course.
More than 30 clinicians, nurses and patient representatives contributed to the project, which was chaired by the charity’s CEO, Simon Rodwell, with Melanoma Focus Trustee Dr Mark Harries as lead clinician. ‘We are extremely grateful to the steering group for all their hard work’, Simon commented. ‘The PDA marks a significant improvement in the information available to melanoma patients about their choices and treatments and will help them, their families and their carers’.
- March 2017: Melanoma treatments: new drug combo restrictions lifted
NHS England has now removed restrictions on access for patients to certain therapies used in combination following a consultation process involving specialist melanoma oncologists led by Melanoma Focus Trustee Dr Pippa Corrie. The combinations are dabrafenib + trametinib, which is suitable for patients with a BRAF mutation, and the immunotherapy drugs ipilimumab + nivolumab. Click here for a full description of what has changed.
- January 2017: Melanoma World Society Newsletters
We now provide links and contents lists for this new series of excellent newsletters that review recently-published papers on all aspects of melanoma medicine. Click here to visit our Library page.
- June 2016: NICE approves combination immunotherapy treatment for melanoma
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved a combination therapy for melanoma patients in England and Wales. This means they will be the first in Europe who can be prescribed this treatment. The decision was made in record time and is expected to apply in due course throughout the United Kingdom.
Dr Paul Nathan, a consultant medical oncologist and Melanoma Focus Trustee, commented: ‘Immunotherapy is genuinely exciting, it is starting to have a profound effect on many cancers and I’m in no doubt there will be patients that have long-term durable control of their disease. It really is a game-changer.’
The drugs, nivolumab and ipilimumab, will be combined in a new therapy for people with metastatic melanoma (or disease that has spread to organs of the body beyond the skin).
Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: ‘These results give new hope to melanoma patients. But it’s important to remember that more powerful treatment comes with an increased chance of severe side effects. Our research now needs to identify which patients are most likely to benefit from this combination and who is most likely to experience the side effects, so doctors can make sure we get the balance right.’
NICE’s Professor Carole Longson said: ‘After one of the fastest drug appraisals NICE has carried out, these promising new immunotherapy treatments for advanced melanoma look set to significantly extend the life of people with the condition. The evidence we examined was very promising and I know further trials are ongoing which have also released encouraging data.’
Click here to read more.
- June 2015: Patient Impact Programme award to Newcastle University for melanoma ulceration study
Melanoma Focus has awarded funds to a scientific group based at Newcastle University to investigate the phenomenon of the ulceration of skin above a melanoma and the associated greater risk of the disease spreading to other parts of the body. The project, Validation of Ambra-1 and Loricrin as prognostic biomarkers for the early detection of high risk melanomas, will be conducted over 18 months under the direction of Dr Rob Ellis and Professor Penny Lovat and will concentrate on the role of two proteins found in the layer of skin overlying melanomas. The findings will help to predict which patients are at a higher risk of metastatic melanoma and therefore require closer follow-up, as well as investigating more effective therapies to reduce the rate of metastasis and overall mortality.
- June 2015: Survey finds the public are confused by sunscreen labelling
A survey by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has found that the public is confused about the labelling of sun creams, calling for a standardised rating method by all manufacturers.
Professor Jayne Lawrence, Chief Scientist of the RPS, said: ‘This survey indicates that there is a huge amount of confusion around sunscreen labelling that is a barrier to effective sun protection. Clearly many consumers do not realise the SPF rating applies only to the amount of protection offered against UVB rays, not UVA rays – both of which can damage the skin and cause skin cancer.
‘People should not have to pick their way through complicated dual ratings information to understand how sunscreen works and the amount of protection it potentially provides. We think it’s time for sunscreen manufacturers to provide one easy to understand rating, based on a simple description of the total amount of sun protection offered: low, medium, high and very high protection.
‘People now have largely got the message that they must protect their skin from the sun using sunscreen, along with other precautions such as covering up and keeping out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. What the RPS is calling for now is one uniform measure for all sun protection products, so pharmacists can provide easy to understand advice on the effectiveness of products and how they should be used’.
Of the 2,000 UK adults who were surveyed only one in five was aware that the SPF rating relates to protection against UVB rays, rather than against UVA radiation. There is the possibility that overexposure to UVA or UVB radiation may lead to melanoma.
- January 2015: Review of smartphone melanoma apps recommends caution
A recent study of smartphone applications (‘apps’) designed to be used by non-specialists in the detection or prevention of melanoma has urged users to be cautious. The review, published in the July 2015 edition of The British Journal of Dermatology, was the work of a team led by Dr Fiona Walter from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care. It is the most comprehensive research finding of its type.
Dr Walter said: ‘Although smartphone apps are recognized as having potentially wide use in detecting melanoma, experts have expressed caution concerning their usefulness, accuracy and safety. We identified almost 40 apps available to detect or prevent melanoma by non-specialist users – patients and GPs.
‘Most apps gave advice or education about melanoma, ultraviolet radiation exposure preventive advice and skin self-examination strategies. Only half of them enabled patients to capture and store images of their skin lesions, either for review by a dermatologist or for self-monitoring to identify change – an important predictor of melanoma. A small minority (4) provided a risk assessment about a skin lesion.
‘In summary, there was little evidence of any evaluation of their usefulness or accuracy, so clinicians and patients alike should be cautious about using these apps to detect melanoma’.
Click here to see the article.
- January 2015: Melanoma Focus guidelines for uveal melanoma accredited by NICE
Melanoma Focus has announced that its recently-completed national guidelines for uveal (ocular) melanoma have been awarded formal accreditation by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Melanoma Focus has funded the project. The guidelines were developed over the past three years by the group of experts, aided by patient representatives. The result is a comprehensive set of recommendations, based on the best available scientific evidence. It is expected to enhance patient care and improve counselling and informed decision-making, while helping clinicians gain a better understanding of outcomes.
For further details click here
- January 2015: Encouraging results announced for new immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab
A highly anticipated new immunotherapy from Merck & Co Inc proved effective in patients with advanced melanoma as well as some with lung cancer or head and neck cancer, according to early-stage studies presented on Monday… a Phase I study in 411 patients with melanoma that had spread to other parts of the body found that 69 percent were alive after a year of treatment. At 18 months, researchers estimated that overall survival was 62 percent, with some patients on the drug for more than two years. The findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago. (Reuters)
Click here to see the report in full
- November 2013: Follow-up of high risk cutaneous melanoma cases: key paper released
Following the recent remarkable progress in improving the treatments available for those suffering from advanced melanoma, almost 50 of the UK’s leading melanoma clinicians have reached a consensus view on the how to follow up patients believed to be at a high risk of the disease recurring.
The report’s lead author, Dr James Larkin of The Royal Marsden, said: ‘Our findings represent a significant departure from the previous guidelines, which were published in 2010. They are intended as a framework for clinical teams treating patients with melanoma. But this is a dynamic field of medicine and we expect there to be some debate over these recommendations.’
Read more about this story via this link
- October 2013: Sunbeds: an ASA Ruling
Incensed by the extraordinary claims in a sunbed salon’s advertising about the potential health benefits of tanning, John Rouse (an adviser to Melanoma Focus) entered battle. He anticipated having to use expert witnesses to counter the salon’s assertions but in the event the Advertising Standards Authority ruled they contravened the regulation that only products licensed for medicinal purposes may claim such benefits.
Follow this link to read John’s account in full.
Have you seen a salon near you making exorbitant claims about the ‘benefits’ of sunbeds? If so, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org