IT firm publishes melanoma MDM

April 13, 2011

CollabRx, an information technology provider, has published a molecular disease model of melanoma (MDMM) that classifies the disease into molecular subtypes and describes treatment guidelines for each, including specific assays, drugs and clinical trials.

Palo Alto, Calif. - CollabRx, an information technology provider, has published a molecular disease model of melanoma (MDMM) that classifies the disease into molecular subtypes and describes treatment guidelines for each, including specific assays, drugs and clinical trials.

According to ScienceDaily.com, the MDMM is published as a “dynamic” review paper by a panel of researchers and clinicians affiliated with CollabRx’s Cancer Commons initiative. The MDMM is maintained online and continuously updated with information about scientific, clinical and technological advancements in cancer research and treatment.

It is designed as an interface between the research and clinical communities, where researchers can learn from clinical outcomes to refine molecular subtypes and clinicians can use the latest subtype information in treatment decisions.

The MDMM consists of a set of “actionable” molecular subtypes and proposed practice guidelines for treating each subtype; i.e., which therapies (approved or experimental) should be considered and which are contraindicated. A molecular subtype of melanoma is loosely defined as those tumors containing the same set of molecular (primarily genetic) defect(s) and their associated pathways, according to ScienceDaily.com.

A subtype is deemed actionable if there is both a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-approved assay to determine whether a given tumor fits that classification, as well as at least one approved or experimental targeted therapy with potential efficacy for that subtype.

ScienceDaily.com quotes Keith Flaherty, M.D., director of developmental therapeutics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and co-chief editor of Cancer Commons Melanoma, as saying, “While earlier stages of melanoma can be successfully treated by surgical excision, advanced stages are uniquely refractory to standard chemotherapy. Recent developments in our understanding of the molecular drivers of this disease have led to a new generation of targeted therapies that are proving effective in patients whose tumors harbor certain genetic defects.

“Rather than treating melanoma as a single disease, it makes sense to stratify tumors into molecular subtypes and treat each with the most appropriate therapies.”