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Drug May Prolong Survival in Melanoma Patients

The Northern California Melanoma Center's Research Appears in the Journal of Immunotherapy

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 23, 2009 - The Northern California Melanoma Center (NCMC)'s research showed patients who received GM-CSF (Sargramostim, trade name Leukine) may experience prolonged survival. The study appears in next month's Journal of Immunotherapy (July/August issue) and will appear online today.

The Northern California Melanoma Center (NCMC) Director, Lynn Spitler, MD and her associates' research involved treating patients who had been diagnosed clinically free of melanoma after surgery but were at high risk of recurrence. Their research titled, “Recombinant Human Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF, Sargramostim) Administered for Three Years as Adjuvant Therapy of Stage II (T4), III, and IV Melanoma” found that using GM-CSF in these patients may prolong survival. GM-CSF stimulates the patient's immune response to the tumor and allows the patient's body to recognize tumor cells and throw them off as they would a common cold or infection.

“There are currently only 3 FDA-approved treatments for melanoma and we desperately need more and better treatments,” said Dr. Spitler. “Clinical trials offer patients more options and the hope of a better outcome and less toxicity than that obtained with standard therapy.” Clinical trials test the safety and efficacy of the drugs/devices, but effectiveness is only established when the drug has been tested in a prospective randomized trial and approved for marketing by the FDA.

When a patient is diagnosed with any stage of melanoma, they and their physician begin the daunting task of choosing from various treatment options. The NCMC takes a lot of the confusion out of the process because the NCMC has a Consulting Panel of physicians who review each new patient's medical history, diagnosis and all their health records. The Panel makes therapeutic recommendations for each patient and provides the patient and his/her family and/or friends with information about treatment options so that they can then make an informed decision regarding standard or investigational therapy.

In addition to the publication in the Journal of Immunotherapy, the NCMC at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco has published reports in a number of other scientific Journals and has presented results of their studies at many major cancer and melanoma conferences. The NCMC has provided consultations to more than 5,000 melanoma patients and offers clinical trials for patients with all stages of melanoma. The NCMC also enjoys an international reputation as a Center of Excellence in melanoma treatment and patients travel to the Center from all over globe.

To read the complete abstract and research on GM-CSF Sargramostim please visit:

About The Northern California Melanoma Center (NCMC):

For more than 30 years Dr. Lynn Spitler and the Melanoma Consulting Panel made up of physicians and researchers have reviewed the cases of more than 5,000 melanoma patients from around the globe. The strength of The NCMC lies in the Panel who meet weekly to discuss each new patient and combine their expertise in making recommendations for patient care. The NCMC's goal is to provide information about melanoma to patients, their families, and the medical community.

About the Journal of Immunotherapy:

The Journal of Immunotherapy features rapid publication of articles on immunomodulators, lymphokines, antibodies, cells, and cell products in cancer biology and therapy. Laboratory and preclinical studies, as well as investigative clinical reports, are presented. The journal emphasizes basic mechanisms and methods for the rapid transfer of technology from the laboratory to the clinic. JIT contains full-length articles, review articles, and short communications.



Contact: For St. Mary's Medical Center
Christina Chandler, 415-750-5787


Posted: June 2009