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Skin cancer drug shrinks tumours

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Trials into a new skin cancer treatment have found that the experimental drug rapidly shrinks tumours.

Scientists at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York found that the treatment known as ‘PLX4032’ works by a blocking gene which allows the development of tumours.

The affected gene is linked to around half of bowel cancers, and the same proportion of melanoma skin cancers.

A total of 22 patients out of the 31 who took part in the trial have been evaluated. Of those, 14 met the criteria of partial response, in which the diameter of the tumour shrunk by at least 30% for a month.

It was too early to fully analyse the results of six other patients who had also shown a response to the drug.

Dr Paul Chapman, who led the study, revealed the scientists were “excited by the results”. He said a “significant and rapid improvement” had been noted in a number of patients.

“We’ve had patients come off oxygen and we’ve got several patients who have been able to come off narcotic pain medication soon after starting treatment,” Dr Chapman added.

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