It’s the most common form of skin cancer, but in its advanced stages, basal cell carcinoma has the potential to become disfiguring and life threatening. An international phase 2 study headed by Mayo Clinic led to the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of the first drug of its kind to help advanced basal cell carcinoma patients who have few treatment options.
The study found the drug Erivedge (vismodegib) shrank advanced basal cell carcinoma tumors in 43 percent of patients with locally advanced disease and in 30 percent of patients whose disease spread to other organs.
“This targeted therapy represents a new paradigm in cancer treatment,” says lead researcher Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist and cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He explains how Erivedge can shrink a tumor by targeting a molecular signaling pathway that fuels the cancer cells and shut it down.
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