New era in treatment for the deadliest form of skin cancer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/25/10

New era in treatment for the deadliest form of skin cancer

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By Karin McCay| email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) –The melanoma community, patients, their families, and doctors are all abuzz about a promising experimental drug that could signal a new era in treatment for the deadliest and most dangerous form of skin cancer.  This type of skin cancer is called advanced melanoma, which spreads from the skin throughout the body.  Now, scientists are reporting early success with an experimental drug that actually shrank melanoma tumors. In a few cases, it got rid of them completely.

 Right now, the drug is just called PLX4032. It targets a genetic mutation that appears in about 60 percent of people with melanoma. The results out today show that in patients with the genetic mutation, more than 80 percent saw their tumors shrink, and some are alive and healthy two years later. For 25 year old, Emily Black, the results were dramatic, and she says, "the tumor shrunk by at least 50 percent within a month. It was just incredible."  Dr. Tim Turnham believes these results frankly give us the strongest sense that we might have a foot in the door in terms of managing this disease."

Dr. Keith Flaherty at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is leading the research.  The drug is in its phase 3 trial, which means if the results continue to look this good, it will go on to the FDA for approval. We'll keep you posted.

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