In contrast to classical chemotherapeutics, targeted drugs provide the basis for the personalised treatment of metastatic melanoma1.
However, not all patients qualify for these treatments; their responsiveness cannot be predicted confidently and is typically of limited duration.
Consequently, tools that can predict treatment responsiveness on a case-by-case basis are required, and additional targeted therapeutics need to be developed and evaluated.
MEL-TARGET will decipher the complex signalling systems triggered and perturbed by novel targeted therapeutics in order to develop prototype systems models which can predict responsiveness and which can serve as innovative patient stratification and treatment decision tools.
In MEL-TARGET, we will study new drug candidates which have already passed pre-clinical toxicology studies or are already in phase I/II trials.
Even though disease relevant pathways in melanoma have been identified and a qualitative understanding of associated signalling networks has been achieved, the processes of melanomagenesis, progression, and metastasis are mechanistically and quantitatively incompletely understood 1,2.
Likewise, the processes contributing to acquired resistance to targeted therapeutics, the role of the tumour microenvironment and the contribution of “whole body” physiological parameters to treatment success remain obscure and significantly limit the quality and the success of clinical melanoma management.
In MEL-MARK, we will therefore evaluate control features and signalling nodes in known disease relevant pathways as novel prognostic and predictive combinatorial systems biomarkers for melanomagenesis, progression, and (co-)treatment responsiveness.
- Sullivan RJ and Flaherty KT (2014) Major developments and current challenges in advanced melanoma Br J Dermatol, 170(1): p. 36-44.
- Finn L, Markovic SV, Joseph RW (2012) Therapy for metastatic melanoma: the past, present, and future. BMC Medicine, 10:23.