Melanoma has gotten a number of new drugs during the last years- in order to follow what is what, this is a broad overview, extract from the MPNE website:
Currently available in Melanoma for patients whose tumors carry the BRAF mutation. Drugs are small molecules coming in the form of pills that one needs to take daily and that specifically block the mutated protein- so they only work for these patients.
In the future, there will hopefully also be other targeted therapies for patients with BRAF wild-type, NRAS- or c-KIT mutated Melanoma available.
Combining a BRAF inhibitor with a MEK inhibitor has been shown to increase the effect on the signalling pathway the Melanoma crucially depends on by providing a double road-block instead of a single one.
VEMURAFENIB , marketed as Zelboraf.
DABRAFENIB, marketed as Taflinar.
TRAMETINIB, marketed as Mekinist.
Antibody-based immune therapies use the bodies own immune system to flight Melanoma. They are antibodies requiring a perfusion every 2 or 3 weeks and there are a number of different schemes, some with an induction and/ or maintenance.
Normally, our immune system has in-built 'brakes' to prevent over-shooting immune activity (which would become an auto-immune disease). These immune therapies block specific brakes- after which the body continues to attack the Melanoma.
IPILIMUMAB, marketed as Yervoy.
PEMBROLIZUMAB, marketed as Keytruda.