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Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Skin cancer drug shows early promise

September 27, 2007

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— A very early test of an experimental drug seemed to slow the spread of advanced deadly skin cancer in a small study, the drug's U.S. developer reported in preliminary findings Wednesday.

Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Lexington, Mass., reported that patients with advanced melanoma who got the drug survived an average of 3.7 months without new cancer lesions, compared with 1.8 months for those who got the standard treatment.

The treatment, given as a pill, is so early in development it doesn't have a name. It must pass muster in much more rigorous testing before the company seeks U.S. approval.

Synta's drug is one of several in development by other companies trying a new strategy against cancer - killing tumor cells by overloading them with oxygen. The drug has no effect on normal cells, which can adjust to higher levels of oxygen that cause cancer cells to self-destruct.

Doctors heard the results at the European Cancer Organization meeting in Barcelona.

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