'Wonder drug' for skin cancer treatment offers hope for prolonged survival

6th June 2011

Hope may have been provided for people suffering from malignant melanoma, as two new cancer treatments have been hailed as 'wonder drugs' for the disease.

Doctors have called the results of trials for two new drugs the biggest breakthrough in the field in 30 years, after tests showed that ipilimumab and vemurafenib successfully prolong life for sufferers of the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

More than double the number of patients receiving the former drug were alive three years after diagnosis compared with traditional medicines.

The survival rate after one year of receiving the drugs combined with traditional treatment was almost 50 per cent, compared to 36 per cent when the traditional drug is used independently.

Results of the trail, which was conducted across Europe and America, were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago yesterday.

Dr James Larkin, consultant medical oncologist at London's Royal Marsden Hospital, who worked on trials of both drugs, said: "It's unprecedented and very exciting that, after all these years without any developments for patients with advanced melanoma, we have two new treatments offering dramatic benefits in terms of prolonging their lives."

There is no cure for advanced melanoma, which is the last stage of the disease. It means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and it cannot be removed.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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