Read the latest updates and news on clinical trials for melanoma in the UK below.
mRHA- May 2023
MSD and Moderna have announced that they will be opening a phase 3 trial looking at treating stage 3 and 4 melanomas with a personalised cancer treatment in combination with standard immunotherapy.
Their phase 2b trial (KEYNOTE-942) showed that an individualised mRNA vaccine (V940) given together with standard immunotherapy treatment pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA) reduced the risk of recurrence or death by 44% compared to pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA) alone in stage 3 and 4 melanoma patients with high risk of recurrence following complete resection surgery.
They are now developing a phase 3 trial which will allow the combination treatment to be tested in a larger number of melanoma patients and it is planned to open in the UK.
What are personalised cancer treatments?
A personalised cancer treatment takes into account the different characteristics of each person’s melanoma and uses this to make a very specific treatment to target, attack and kill their own melanoma cells.
What is an mRNA vaccine?
An mRNA vaccine is a type of personalised cancer treatment. It takes DNA from a person’s melanoma cells and engineers it in a laboratory to make mRNA, which acts as a messenger system to instruct the body to make certain proteins. When the mRNA vaccine is given back to the same person, it will deliver information to their body’s immune system and instruct it to adapt and be able to specifically recognise, attack and kill their melanoma cells.
Going forward the mRNA vaccine will also be referred to as an investigational neoantigen treatment or ‘INT’. A neoantigen being the specific protein that is produced to boost the individual person’s immune system to recognise and attack their melanoma cells.
This is a new technology, and this phase 3 clinical trial by MSD and Moderna will be the first of its kind looking at an mRNA vaccine to treat melanoma patients in the UK.
For more information on this news please see the announcement here.
For more information on current clinical trials available to melanoma patients see our Melanoma TrialFinder.
And remember to keep checking back for news on this new trial which is hopefully planned to open in late 2023!
RESEARCH INTO HOW IMMUNOTHERAPY TREATMENT IS GIVEN- December 2022
The OPTIC study has just opened to recruitment, and researchers want to interview patients in groups to find out their opinion about how immunotherapy treatment is given.
Immunotherapy is currently standard treatment for a lot of melanoma patients, and it is usually given by an intravenous infusion, i.e., via a thin tube inserted into the arm, every 2-6 weeks (depending on the specific treatment). Most patients will need to have treatment for at least a year, and some patients will be recommended ongoing treatment even if the treatment works well.
Although giving immunotherapy this way has been proven effective, researchers are now wanting to look at whether they can change the way immunotherapy is given to patients to try to reduce the impact it may have on their quality of life. For example, they want to see if it works as well if it is given at lower dose, less often, or for a shorter amount of time overall. This could mean less visits to the hospital or a lower chance of patients experiencing side effects.
If you would like to take part, you can view the summary on the Melanoma TrialFinder to check whether you would be eligible to take part or see the OPTIC study official website for more details.
The OPTIC study researchers are currently interviewing patients with advanced melanoma but will want to speak to patients with earlier stage melanoma later in 2023 also, so do keep up to date with the Melanoma TrialFinder to check for new information.
THE MELANOMA TRIALFINDER- May 2022
In May 2022, we are launching the Melanoma TrialFinder. This will support the melanoma community of patients and medical and nursing skin cancer professionals to provide knowledge and understanding of UK melanoma clinical trials.
The last decade has revolutionised melanoma treatments, particularly in stage 3 and 4 melanoma and this is thanks to the ongoing research in this area. Research provides hope.
THE FUTURE OF CLINICAL RESEARCH- May 2022
Our ongoing commitment to research and clinical trials at Melanoma Focus is further validated by a recent policy paper released by the UK Government Department of Health and Social care. The paper calls for the need to focus on Clinical Research in all areas of patient care.
The policy paper, called Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery, defines the vision for the future of clinical research in one of its opening statements:
Our hope for the future:
“The pandemic has showcased the clear link between research and better outcomes – for individuals and the NHS….
…Clinical research is the single most important way in which we improve our healthcare – by identifying the best means to prevent, diagnose and treat conditions….
…Research is also vital in determining what doesn’t work, so we can improve best practice and focus resources on providing healthcare that delivers the greatest benefit to patients. And research extends beyond clinical trials for new medicines to cover a range of activities – from a study into a new approach to radiation therapy, to work to explore how a particular disease could be prevented, or even an investigation to help mitigate the side effects of a new
Clinical research is all around us and helps to improve the quality of healthcare patients receive. Crucially, these benefits are felt by everyone, not just those participating in research.For example, data shows NHS trusts that are highly research active have better outcomes for patients across their services.
As we look to tackle today’s major healthcare challenges….we must double-down on our commitment to clinical research.
This is how we will identify the best treatments, the best technologies and the best techniques to improve the lives of our children and our grandchildren…”
CIRCULATING TUMOUR DNA MONITORING AND EARLY TREATMENT FOR RELAPSE: VIEWS FROM PATIENTS WITH EARLY-STAGE MELANOMA- May 2022
Melanoma Focus helped to distribute information to patients asking them if they wanted to take part in a study to help understand patient views on a new blood test available to patients with early-stage melanoma.
Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) monitoring is a new technology that detects cancer DNA fragments in blood circulation. Regular monitoring with ctDNA has the potential to detect and treat cancer relapse earlier, but there is little evidence on patient acceptability. This study examines the views of patients with early-stage melanoma on the acceptability of the test and early treatment.