New drug shown to aid in fight against basal cell skin cancer

8 June 2012

Basal cell skin cancer could be better fought against in the months and years to come, thanks to the discovery of a new drug.

Researchers from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute have been demonstrating the effect of vismodegib when treating the life-threatening disease.

The study team trialled the drug, which acts as a form of targeted molecular therapy, to illustrate how it can considerably shrink basal cells discovered in the development of skin cancer.

David R Bickers, director of dermatology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/CUMC, pointed out that in its current form, vismodegib is only appropriate for patients with large numbers of basal cell skin cancers.

However, he added: "Still, this is a huge step forward, pointing to the day when we can offer every one of these patients an alternative to repeated surgery, which can be disfiguring and burdensome."

Recently, Sigrun Alba Johannesdottir, from Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital, led researchers in a study which suggested that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, could soon be used as another form of skin cancer treatment.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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