New Skin Cancer Drug Could Save Lives

A genetic mutation found in about half of all malignant skin cancer cases is the target for a new experimental drug from Roche Pharmaceuticals, which said recently that the results of a clinical trial had been encouraging.

The company said the drug was being developed in conjunction with a test to determine the presence of the mutated gene in skin tumors, and the survival benefit of the drug seems to be a significant improvement over the present standard of care for skin cancer.

Roche is now moving to broaden access to the drug, dubbed RG7204, and increase the number of patients being treated with it. The company also said patients who were part of a control group in the original study will now be given the option of receiving the drug to better fight their cancer.

Despite the possible advance in treatment options available, skin cancer risk factors should be avoided at all costs to keep health insurance costs down. Excessive sun exposure and tanning booths are both on the list of things to steer clear of, experts say.

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