Dr. Daniel Araujo – Winner of the 2019 David Cornfield Melanoma Fund Award

The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund is proud to announce Dr. Daniel V. Araujo as the recipient of the 2019 David Cornfield Melanoma Fund Award. 

The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund Award was jointly established by the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and the University of Toronto to support and advance melanoma research. The DCMF Award is available to residents and fellows in the Department of Medicine and students at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health who have demonstrated special interest and research achievements in the field of melanoma.

Dr. Araujo’s research seeks to improve recovery outcomes for melanoma patients through novel drug use.

Immunotherapy has been a revolutionary treatment for melanoma, dramatically improving survival rates. However, 60% of melanoma patients who receive combined immunotherapy treatments experience internal inflammation, leading to the development of diseases such as hepatitis, colitis and pneumonitis.  This internal inflammation side effect is usually treatable with high dose steroids. For 5-10% of patients, however, steroids are not effective.

The medication typically used in those cases is an immunosuppressant named infliximab, with a good success rate. However, patients with hepatitis are recommended not to use that drug based on a potential risk of infliximab causing liver toxicity. Thus, patients with hepatitis induced by immunotherapy are often treated with older generation immunosuppressant drugs which are less effective. 

Dr. Araujo and his research team are analyzing over 50 cancer patients treated with infliximab assessing the safety profile of this drug and challenging the dogma that infliximab should not be used in immunotherapy induced hepatitis. Dr. Araujo’s project is currently ongoing and hopefully results are expected shortly. This important research will improve treatment and quality of life for melanoma patients undergoing immunotherapy. 

 

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