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NEW MELANOMA DRUG

PEOPLE WITH MELANOMA THAT HAS SPREAD HAVE NEW HOPE WITH A NEW DRUG, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Zelboraf is the name of a new drug just approved by the FDA for the treatment of the deadly skin cancer melanoma, when it has spread throughout the body. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains how this novel drug works.

NELSON: It interferes with a signal that is the consequence of a defective component within the melanoma cell that is an acquired gene defect, a signaling molecule that tells the cells to grow called b-raf. When this is defective or mutated, the signal is in a chronic on state, which tells the melanoma to grow promiscuously and spread throughout the body. This new drug stops that signal directly by stopping that protein from functioning. The responses are tremendous. :31

Nelson says trials with the drug are ongoing in people whose melanoma is in an earlier stage as well as in combination with other targeted therapies. At Johns Hopkins, I'm Elizabeth Tracey.

 



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