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Drug 'slows skin cancer progress'

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A new skin cancer drug could be very effective in prolonging the lives of half of patients suffering from the disease, a study has revealed.

A trial of 680 patients at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital revealed that RG7204 was effective in slowing the spread of advanced malignant melanoma.

The drug locates and blocks genetic mutation found in half of all melanoma cases - the faulty BRAF protein. The drug was effective in shrinking tumours in 70% of cases.

Although researchers have not revealed how much longer patients taking the new drug lived, they confirmed that it was significantly longer than those receiving standard chemotherapy.

Dr Lesley Walker from Cancer Research UK said: “There are very few options for patients with advanced melanoma, so these results are really encouraging.

“The drug is not yet licensed and unavailable to patients not on a clinical trial, but we hope that these results will change this situation very rapidly.”

The study has not yet been fully published for review by other cancer specialists.

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