The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, facilitates discussions between patients and clinicians to explore advancements in treatment
The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, facilitates discussions between patients and clinicians to explore advancements in treatment(Representational image: Unsplash)

Getting Under the Skin at May 11 Symposium on Melanoma

The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, a Cedars-Sinai Affiliate, Brings Together Patients and Clinicians for Conversation About Treatment Advances

The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Cancer, is teaming up with the AIM at Melanoma Foundation for the 14th year to host a free melanoma symposium for patients, caregivers and clinicians. Melanoma, which originates in the skin’s pigment-producing cells, accounts for only 1% of skin cancers but is responsible for most skin cancer deaths.

“In our 14th year hosting this symposium, we remain fully committed to our role as one of the largest melanoma treatment centers in the U.S.,” said Lawrence Piro, MD, president and CEO of the institute. “Continually educating melanoma clinicians, patients and survivors is an essential part of that role.”

The symposium will take place from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 11, at The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute and online. Topics will include immunotherapy, cellular therapy, radiation therapy, clinical trials, survivorship and advances against less common forms of melanoma.

“Each presentation is a conversation between our experts and the community of patients, caregivers and physicians,” said Omid Hamid, MD, chief of Translational Research and Therapy and director of Melanoma Therapeutics.

Hamid and Mark Faries, MD, head of Surgical Oncology and co-director of the Melanoma Program, sat down with the Cedars-Sinai Newsroom to discuss advances in melanoma patient care.

Q

How has melanoma treatment changed over the past decade or so?

Hamid: When we began hosting these events, there were virtually no approved treatments for melanoma. Over the course of these last 14 or 15 years, we’ve seen the development of many therapies, including bispecifics (a type of antibody) and cellular therapies. We're now looking not just to improve outcomes in cutaneous melanoma, the most common type, but to improve outcomes for other melanomas as well.

Faries: The advances that we've seen in systemic therapies have also allowed us to be more selective and targeted, and less invasive, with the surgical approaches that we use. Surgical procedures still have an important role in treatment, but we're able to use more discretion about the sorts of surgeries we employ.

Q

How has melanoma treatment changed over the past decade or so?

Hamid: When we began hosting these events, there were virtually no approved treatments for melanoma. Over the course of these last 14 or 15 years, we’ve seen the development of many therapies, including bispecifics (a type of antibody) and cellular therapies. We're now looking not just to improve outcomes in cutaneous melanoma, the most common type, but to improve outcomes for other melanomas as well.

Faries: The advances that we've seen in systemic therapies have also allowed us to be more selective and targeted, and less invasive, with the surgical approaches that we use. Surgical procedures still have an important role in treatment, but we're able to use more discretion about the sorts of surgeries we employ.

Q

How do cellular therapies work?

A

Faries: T cells, which are part of the body’s immune system, recognize melanoma as abnormal and attack it. Sometimes, however, the response is not adequate and the cancer spreads. We can remove one of the patient’s tumors and put that tissue into culture to allow the T cells in the tumor to become stronger and grow. Then we expand those cells to enormous numbers and give them back to the patient to shift the balance of power, so that the T cells have the upper hand.

Q

What clinical trial options are available for melanoma patients?

Hamid: We have a multitude of clinical trials available. These include trials of cellular therapies, bispecific antibodies that recruit immune cells to attack tumors, and oncolytic viruses that can infect and kill cancer cells—including some that can be given intravenously to reach tumors that we cannot reach directly with an injection.

Faries: One of our goals is to have clinical trial options available to patients at every stage of their disease and treatment that build on the advances of recent years. Across all points along the patient’s journey, there are clinical trial options that give them opportunities that they might not have otherwise.

Q

How has survivorship for melanoma patients evolved?

A

Hamid: Survivorship services are more important than ever as we see patients with metastatic melanoma surviving years and decades, some continuing treatment and some cleared of their cancer. Survivorship is not only living longer, but also living better. It's learning to cope with issues like long-term toxicities that can come from therapy, survivor's guilt, how to become involved in care, and getting involved in giving back to this community as a survivor. Many of the therapies leading to improved survival have originated here at The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, and our symposium will provide a wealth of information about the programs and services available to support melanoma survivors.

The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, facilitates discussions between patients and clinicians to explore advancements in treatment
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In our 14th year hosting this symposium, we remain fully committed to our role as one of the largest melanoma treatment centers in the U.S.
Lawrence Piro, MD, president and CEO of the institute

(NEWSWISE/AS)

The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, facilitates discussions between patients and clinicians to explore advancements in treatment
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