My Malignant Melanoma

Seanty's experiences with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Part of Email us direct at

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Top 5 New Treatments

Update on the top new MM treatments:


Immune system booster, Phase 3 trial had positive results


Gene therapy, Phase 1 trial results just in- showed no responses at planned dosage


Antibody targeting CTLA-4-this is the only drug so far shown to prolong life, available both via open UK trials and for compassionate use


A modified virus carrying a helpful gene, looks promising so far, there is an open UK Phase 3 Trial.


BRAF inhibitor - early trials showed high response rates but it seems that these responses may be short-lived, supporting the anecdotal reports which have been circulating on cancer patients' boards.

Did I say 5? Let's have a sixth/seventh- Glaxo's "me too" B-RAF and MEK inhibitors, presently in Phase 3 Trials.

Talking of MEK inhibitiors, whatever happened to AZD6244? There seems to be an open phase II trial, but no results as yet (MEK inhibitors work on a different link in the chain which B-RAF lies on, and similarly require B-RAF mutant tumours to work)

It might be that combination therapy with two of these agents would be more than twice as good as any on their own, but that would mean drugs companies cooperating instead of competing. Here's an occasion where we might wish the quacks' supposed "cancer conspiracy" were true, and drug companies really did act in concert.

Update- the combination trial is happening.

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Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Genetic transmission of MM to kids

Someone asked me today on behalf of a mother with MM if she might have transmitted the B-RAF mutation to her kids. Short story- nope.

Longer explanation:

In order for a cancer to spread, a number of the things which prevent uncontrolled growth in normal cells have to go wrong. There are things which repair damage to DNA, limit the number of times a cell can divide, things which cause cells to suicide if they are defective, things which make the immune system kill cells, and so on.

All cancer cells have to have a range of these faults to progress even to a stage 0 cancer. You can be born with faults inherited from your parents that help things along like BRCA, you can pick them up from the action of viruses as in cervical cancer, or from the effect of radiation on DNA as is believed to be the case with the B-RAF mutation, and so on. More commonly, it is thought that a number of these things come together to make cancer.They sequenced MM tumours quite recently, and there were thousands of mutations.

We all have the B-RAF gene, which essentially acts as a check on cell growth. The mutant B-RAF gene's ineffectiveness takes the brakes off cell growth. It exists only in the cancer cells themselves. Blocking this effect is how the B-RAF drugs work. The mutant form is not likely to be in a person with MM's egg or sperm cells, and if it were, there are in any case processes which kill any sex cells with mutations. You don't pass on the mutation.

There is evidence of a familial form of MM, known as dysplastic naevus syndrome, but the suspect gene there is called p16, and the evidence is nowhere near as strong as it is for BRCA- they think other (presently unidentified) genes are involved. Only around 10% of MM has this suspected basis, and those affected have a 50% risk of MM by age 50.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Thomas Lodi again...

I have been sent the following unsolicited testimonial for Thomas Lodi, whose minion Shayla threatened to sue me a while back:

What Thomas Lodi is doing is amazing. Anyone that goes through traditional methods is playing Russian roulette, I know because I went through it. I am now on 100% raw diet and lifestyle. I know you think this is all bullocks but it saved my life when nothing else could. If you open your mind and look at the science of raw food and detox as it correlates to cancer maybe you will learn that chemo alone is no more succesfull than a placebo. Watch the documentary "healing cancer from the inside out"

so let's have a look at this testimonial in the light of surgical oncologist Peter Moran's guidance on how to do so:

The basics ---

1. Was cancer definitely present , as shown by reliable tests, when treatment was commenced?

2. Did it go away? (or clearly respond otherwise, as judged by the same tests)

3. Was the advocated treatment the only one used ? (within 2-3 months of the apparent cancer response)

A "good" testimonial should fulfil these three requirements.

1. Was cancer definitely present? We don't know, no evidence to support the idea that this is anyone other than Lodi himself is offered, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt: Yes, though we don't know what kind, or what stage it was at.

2. Did it go away? again, no evidence offered, but again, let's be generous: Yes, though we haven't been told if this was a type or stage of cancer which commonly goes away of its own accord.

3. Was the treatment the only one used? By his own admission, No, he says he went through conventional therapy. For some reason he does not believe this cure was effected by the conventional therapy, and that his life was "saved" by the simple expedient of not cooking his food.

So why does he believe this to be the case? He tell us- he mistakenly believes that chemo is no better than placebo, and that raw food cures cancer, because he watched some quack's video on the internet.

Chemo which is not considerably better than placebo doesn't get licensed. Of course our correspondent believes in the conspiracy to suppress cancer cures- on his planet, cures don't get licensed, they get buried by the evil doctors and medical researchers.

But I'll open my mind- let's have a look at the science of raw food and detox as it applies to cancer, and "healing cancer from the inside out", a sickening promo video for yet another quack. OK, I looked: an open-minded investigation suggests to me that this is a scientifically groundless exercise in the cynical financial exploitation of desperate cancer patients.

I don't think this is bullocks, by the way - I do however think it is bollocks. I agree with the writer on one issue: that what Thomas Lodi is doing is amazing. How a video by a commercially interested party which claims in direct opposition to the truth that his competition (conventional medical treatment) is both financially corrupt, and ineffective would convince anyone other than a moron is a mystery to me.

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