Elsevier, the information analytics company specializing in science and health, has published the findings of a new report on melanoma R&D, created by its Professional Services group, highlighting the implication of the microbiome in the onset and progression of the disease, as well as in the toxicity of, and response rate, to cancer treatments. The findings show that in 2018, two of the three most cited research papers mentioning melanoma in the title, abstract or keywords explore the influence of the microbiome in response to melanoma patients — with over 700 citations. It found also that within the small molecules and targets pipeline there is an increased focus on targeted therapeutics towards patients with specific melanoma gene mutations, echoing the industry trend towards the development of precision medicines.
“Utilizing proprietary datasets and analytical tools, the Elsevier report highlights the huge expansion of melanoma research over the last decade, demonstrating the increasing volume of studies of BRAF kinase and PD1 immune checkpoint,” noted Marc Hurlbert, PhD, Chief Science Officer, Melanoma Research Alliance. “As noted in the report, there has been an explosion of knowledge about melanoma with an ever-increasing list of protein targets. Also noted, the role of the microbiome in melanoma and in response to immunotherapy is of increasing interest in the field.”
“The number of melanoma cases is continuing to rise, and could reach between 100,000 and 125,000 in the US alone by 2030, if current trends persist — so it’s a hugely important area to research further to form a fuller understanding of the disease and potential treatments,” said Tim Hoctor, Vice President, Life Science Solutions at Elsevier. “Our report finds more research should be done in positively influencing the microbiome in melanoma patients — as it has the potential to dramatically affect treatment plans and outcomes for patients. We are also hearing from all customers that microbiome research will explode in 2020, and is a big focus across all disease areas, including dementia related studies, and the increase in studies mentioning the microbiome bears out this prediction.”
Further report findings show that:
- Two blockbuster drugs that treat melanoma (Keytruda and YERVOY) have been proven safe, as there is no increased likelihood of death reported as an adverse event compared to all other drugs; but results do show these drugs cause patients to be more likely to report inflammatory, thyroid and liver adverse events.
- More targeted immunotherapies are being approved and are under development for melanoma. At present there are seven FDA approved immunotherapies to treat melanoma including YERVOY and Keytruda.
- Since 2018, four clinical trials that aim to study and modulate gut microbiome’s impact on response to immunotherapy of melanoma have been registered at clinicaltrials.gov and are currently recruiting patients or about to start recruitment.
“The findings show there is opportunity for further study into the 11 genes genetically linked to melanoma with no reported genetic variants, which could point to potential gaps in our knowledge,” said Tom Williams, lead report author and Life Sciences Professional Services Project Manager at Elsevier. “The Elsevier Professional Services team, whose backgrounds lie in clinical development, data science, informatics and preclinical research, is passionate about accelerating science to improve health. We plan now to develop further reports to support R&D efforts in other areas, particularly around the protein targets involved in specific diseases, the microbiome and rare diseases.”
The full report, “The Current State of Melanoma Research: Insights and Analytics”, created by Elsevier’s Professional Services group, looks at melanoma R&D, the biology and mechanisms of the disease, general knowledge gaps, therapeutics and the emerging topic of the microbiome-melanoma association.
Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray’s Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com