Skin cancer drug hope

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Scientists believe they may have developed a drug that will be able to treat one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer.

They believe the drug will help people even in the most advanced and incurable stages of the disease.

Skin cancer is increasing rapidly in the UK with more than 10,400 people being diagnosed every year so any drug that could help sufferers is interesting news.

Trials have suggested that the experimental drug PLX4032 (R7204) could extend the life of people with skin cancer and keep the disease in check by shrinking the cancer and delaying its spread.

The drug seeks out and destroys tumour cells which carry the BRAF mutation which if found in 60% of skin cancers.

Roche and Plexxikon who have developed the drug now plan to conduct larger trials to test the drug's safety and to check dosage.

Other researchers are currently looking into ways of treating advanced skin cancer by encouraging the body's own immune system to destroy the cancer cells.

However, the best cure for this disease is not to expose yourself to excessive ultraviolet radiation eg sun or sunbeds and to ensure you always wear appropriate levels of sunscreen such as SPF 15 or higher to protect your skin.

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