In a new study led by UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member Dr. Roger Lo, researchers have uncovered how melanoma becomes resistant to a promising new drug combo therapy utilizing BRAF+MEK inhibitors in patients after an initial period of tumor shrinkage.
During the new two-year study, Lo and his team took 43 tumor samples from 15 patients before they were prescribed the new BRAF+MEK inhibitor combo drugs and then after they relapsed due to the melanoma developing drug resistance. The participants had all benefited from the combo therapy initially, but after periods of time the tumors regressed.
All the tumors biopsied from the patients were subjected to in-depth analysis of the genetic material extracted from the tumors. This analysis of patient-derived tumors then provided leads for the investigators to study how melanoma cells grown in Lo's laboratory rewired their growth circuitry to get around the combo inhibitors.