Activating c-kit mutation in melanoma and other cancers - therapeutic and prognostic significance

In cancer treatment, a better understanding of the specific genetic and molecular changes that contribute to tumor growth is leading to the development of targeted therapies, which are predicted to be less toxic and more effective than current treatments. The efficient prescription of these therapies relies on accurate molecular diagnosis of specific genetic changes in individual tumors.

This invention describes the identification of an activating mutation in the c-kit tyrosine kinase in a subset of melanomas. Detection of this mutation could indicate that treatment with Imatinib (Gleevec), a targeted therapy which is extremely effective in tumors carrying an activated c-kit mutations, could be beneficial to this subset of patients with malignant melanoma.

The incidence of melanoma has more than tripled in the population during the last 20 years, and melanoma currently is the seventh most common cancer in the United States. This invention provides a method for identifying which melanoma patients might benefit from targeted therapy.

Stage of Development
A patent application has been filed with the US Patent Office. This technology is part of an active and ongoing research program. It is available for developmental research support and licensing under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.

Additional Info
*Willmore-Payne C, Holden JA, Tripp S, Layfield LJ. (2005) Human malignant melanoma: detection of BRAF- and c-kit-activating mutations by *See also

Inventor(s): Carlynn Willmore-Payne, Lester Layfield, Joseph Holden

Type of Offer: Licensing

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