AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Researchers in Colorado helped lay the groundwork for a new drug therapy that’s offering hope for melanoma patients.
The therapy involved a two drug combination and it blocks different melanoma growth pathways, according to oncologist Karl Lewis of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Dave Brown is living proof the new therapy works. He is not cancer free, but he is enjoying each day to the fullest.
Brown, 51, of Westminster, has come to the center every four weeks for the past three years. He gets checkups and he receives a two pill combo that has kept him alive.
“It’s a miracle drug. I had somebody in my corner looking after me,” Brown said.
In 2005 Brown had a lump removed. It was melanoma.
“A year of checkups all came clean. I thought we were out of the woods as far as cancer went,” he said.
But in December 2010, the melanoma was back. This time it was in Brown’s bloodstream.
“I was having a hard time breathing. Most of the cancer itself was on my liver and my spleen and I had one spot on my lungs,” he said.
Brown said he was scared but he said “but you keep the faith it’s going to be alright.”
Timing was on Brown’s side. The clinical trial of the two-drug therapy was just beginning.
“We’re specifically targeting the cancer cells — trying to spare the normal cells and prevent the cancer from growing,” said Lewis. “We can shrink the disease down significantly and they can do quite well.”
Brown said his cancer is now 85 percent gone.
The FDA approved the drug combo last month. Studies are also underway on other promising melanoma treatments.
The combination treatment is so new that no one can say what the long term outcome will be, but researchers are always testing new encouraging melanoma therapies that could offer another treatment option.