|New drug slows the progress of skin cancer|
|Thursday, 17 February 2011 00:00|
Skin cancer patients could have their lives extended, thanks to a new drug that can slow the spread of the disease in half of patients, a new study has revealed. A drug that attacks a genetic mutation found in half of all skin cancer cases has been tested in 680 patients at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London. The drug was shown to be particularly effective in patients with advanced malignant melanoma.
The new drug targets a specific faulty gene - the mutated BRAF protein – which is present in around half of all melanoma cases. The drug, called RG7204 seeks out and blocks the mutated gene and the study found that it caused tumours to shrink in 70% of cases.
The results have been welcomed by Cancer Research UK and have been described as an "incredibly exciting" development by Dr James Larkin from the Royal Marsden Hospital. Although the results have yet to be peer reviewed, consensus is that the new drug could help up to 1,000 people a year in the UK suffering from malignant melanoma.
Skin cancer is now the second most common cancer among UK adults aged 15 to 34, with incidences of melanoma are rising faster than any other common cancer. If caught early, the cancer is treatable. But survival rates drop once the cancer spreads. This new drug could play a key factor in stopping the spread of melanoma and prolonging the lives of patients. The drug has not yet been licensed in the UK, but once further clinical trials are completed and the drug has been deemed safe, the positive impact on the lives of skin cancer victims could be considerable. Doctors from Cancer Research have expressed hope that the drug will be made available quickly once the trials are completed, as the battle against one of the fastest growing cancers continues.
|Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:33|