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New drug hailed as 'penicillin moment' for cancer treatment

Published on 17/09/2010
A new cancer drug that has been likened to the discovery of penicillin by scientists could soon be available to those with private medical cover.

Using information garnered from the mapping of human DNA, the new drug, called PLX4032, has the ability to shrink tumours caused by skin cancer and in some cases even remove them completely.

In a trial, the drug was given to 32 men and women with late-stage malignant melanoma, in which the cancer had spread through the body.

The tumour size was significantly reduced in 24 of the cases and in a further two patients caused the growths to disappear completely.

PLX4032 works by targeting a specific genetic mutation and it is hoped that similar gene-specific drugs can now be developed to treat other cancers.

Professor Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust, told the BBC: "We've entered an end game in which we are going to complete our understanding of what causes cancer."

Skin cancer is one of the most common in the UK with more than 10,300 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in the country every year.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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