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New drug is effective against the most common form of skin cancer
Date:4/6/2011

ORLANDO, Fla. April 5, 2011 A new drug is effective in preventing new basal cell carcinomas in patients with an inherited predisposition to the disease.

These patients with basal cell nevus syndrome develop large numbers of basal cells, which can become locally invasive or metastatic, according to a discussion presented by renowned oncologist Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff at the 102nd annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

In an initial study, Dr. Von Hoff and his team at TGen Clinical Research Service at Scottsdale Healthcare (TCRS) found that the drug, vismodegib (GDC-0449), a hedgehog pathway inhibitor, was effective in shrinking advanced invasive or metastatic basal cell carcinomas. TCRS was the first to evaluate vismodegib, produced by Genentech. TCRS is a partnership of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare in Scottsdale, Ariz.

At Sunday's conference plenary session, titled: "The Future of Cancer Research: Challenges and Opportunities," Dr. Von Hoff discussed a new prevention and treatment approach for patients who have basal cell nevus syndrome. Specifically, he discussed the effect of the drug on basal cell nevus syndrome, an advanced form of basal cell carcinoma that produces often-disfiguring tumors of the jaw, the sole of the foot, the brain and ribs.

A team of investigators from Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in Oakland, Calif., headed by Dr. Ervin H. Epstein Jr., presented dramatic results at the conference demonstrating that vismodegib entirely prevented the development of basal cell carcinomas in patients with basal cell nevus syndrome.

These findings are "a stunning result, which brings hope to patients who otherwise may need disfiguring surgery, especially for cancers that arise on the face and upper part of the body," said Dr. Von Hoff, a past president of AACR.


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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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