A cream that can cure patients from skin cancer without surgery has been successfully trialled in Italy, and could be available in the UK within two years.
The new cream is made up of rhenium-188, a previously rare and expensive radioactive isotope. The radioactive paste is applied to the tumour area via a piece of surgical foil, and is removed a few hours later.
Because the radiation encourages new skin to regrow the cream does not leave a scar, and the treatment causes no pain and minimal side effects.
Italian researchers tested the cream on 700 patients suffering from basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
In the trial 85 per cent of patients were cured after one treatment, and up to 95 per cent were cured after three treatments.
Whilst the cream is not suitable for use on malignant melanoma, it has proved successful on deep tumours that cannot be removed by surgery or by ‘freezing’.
These deep tumours are usually treated with radiotherapy with a 95 per cent success rate, but radiotherapy causes serious side effects and often involves up to ten sessions in hospital.
Oliver Buck, chief executive of the German technology firm ITM which developed the therapy, said: ‘This means that patients with large and difficult-to-treat tumours not only have hope but keep their quality of life under what would otherwise be dire conditions.'
‘These people sometimes have to go through horrible surgery which removes part of their face. By contrast this treatment is generally done in a single non-invasive session.’
Trials of the new cream are now being held in Germany and Australia. Researchers hope that the treatment could be licensed in the UK within two years.
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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012