Discovering a potential explanation for treatment resistance in skin cancer

Source: MedicalXpress, March 2022

Many melanoma patients are treated with drugs called BRAF or MEK inhibitors that specifically target the mutant proteins created in cancerous tumors. These inhibitors can block the tumors’ ability to grow and spread.

According to Ann Richmond, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of pharmacology and dermatology, while these inhibitors are shown to be rapidly effective and to increase survival rates, most patients eventually experience relapse. To help solve this problem, Richmond and other researchers at Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences used spatial imaging analysis of tissues. These imaging techniques allowed researchers to investigate the properties of the tumors and immune cells in patients before and after developing resistance to the BRAF and MEK inhibitors.