Researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford are investigating therapies for melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer responsible for more than 7,000 deaths last year in the U.S. alone.
Neelu Puri, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, is leading a team of researchers that includes students in the UICOMR Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Medical Biotechnology programs. This team is studying molecularly targeted therapies and immunotherapies for treating melanoma and how these may be improved to combat resistance that may occur.
The researchers recently published a review of published research in this area, including previous work completed in the Puri laboratory as well as that of other researchers around the world working on similar studies. Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma with a Combination of Immunotherapies and Molecularly Targeted Therapies was published in the journal Cancers, which has an impact factor of 6.6.
“This clinical paper discusses immunotherapies and molecularly targeted therapies that have drastically changed the therapeutic approach for metastatic melanoma,” says Dr. Puri. “Many melanoma patients have benefited from these therapies; however, some patients acquire resistance to them. Novel combinations of immunotherapies and molecularly targeted therapies may be more efficient in treating these patients. In this review, we discuss various combination therapies under pre-clinical and clinical development that can reduce toxicity, enhance efficacy, and prevent recurrences in patients with metastatic melanoma.”
Additional authors of the paper include UICOMR medical students Taylor Rager, Rong Qiu, Shahina Gantiwala, Katrina Dovalovsky, Kelly Fan, Katie Lam, Claire Roesler and Bridget Morgan; Master of Science in Medical Biotechnology students Meet Patel, Aayush Rastogi, Shruti Gautam, Namrata Dube and SM Nasifuzzaman; and faculty members Jeff Smith, MD, clinical associate professor in the Department of Medicine and Medical Specialties, and Aftab Merchant, MBBS, clinical professor in the Department of Health Sciences Education. Adam Eckburg, who previously worked in the Puri lab and is now a medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was also a primary author.