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Experimental Skin Cancer Drug Shows Promise

An experimental drug called STA-4783 may prove an effective new treatment for skin cancer, according to research presented Wednesday at a meeting of the European Cancer Organization in Barcelona, Spain.

The drug causes tumor cells to self-destruct by overloading them with oxygen. A study of 81 patients with advanced melanoma skin cancer found that the 28 who received the standard chemotherapy drug paclitaxel went an average of 1.8 months before their cancer worsened. The 53 patients who received paclitaxel plus STA-4783 went an average of 3.7 months before their cancer worsened, the Associated Press reported.

The study also found that patients who received the combination therapy survived an average of one year after diagnosis, compared with an average of 7.8 months for those who received only paclitaxel. The study was paid for by Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Lexington, Mass., which developed STA-4783.

The new drug, which has no effect on normal cells, may also prove effective against other cancers, the AP reported.

HealthDay News, September 26, 2007

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