Melanoma is an aggressive cancer. Though current medical knowledge does not include a thorough understanding of why melanoma develops so quickly, we do know how it progresses. Mutations in cancer cells allow the disease to progress and enter the blood stream fairly quickly. From there it establishes colonies in other parts of the body and begins reproducing. One aspect of research at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance focuses on trying to interrupt that process in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Although a great deal of research has been done on diagnosing melanoma and on estimating the prognosis of patients with melanoma, much work remains to be done to develop more effective treatments to shrink tumors, enhance patients’ immune systems, and find treatments that are less toxic and have fewer side effects.
Clinical trials are research studies designed to develop better treatments. Patients participating in clinical trials have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease.
For more information about clinical studies, see the Patient Guide to Clinical Trials which includes Myths vs Facts.
Check here for a list of open melanoma clinical trials at SCCA. For patients with advanced melanoma, be sure to check the current roster of open Phase 1 trials.