Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pill Tested in Region Available to Tackle Cancer; Disfiguring Condition Drug Cleared

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pill Tested in Region Available to Tackle Cancer; Disfiguring Condition Drug Cleared

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter? 0191 201 6269 ? helen.rae@ncjmedia.co.uk

ADAILY pill to beat disfiguring skin cancers has been given the go ahead following North East trials. A team at the region's Northern Institute for Cancer Research has been at the forefront of efforts to create a once a day pill set to bring new hope to thousands hit with a disease that often sees tumours grow on the face and neck.

From today patients with a particular type of skin cancer could be treated with vismodegib, which is available following European Medicines Agency approval for use in the UK and listing on the national Cancer Drugs Fund.

Clinical trials in Newcastle - one of only a handful that have taken place in the country - found that the treatment was able to shrink visible lesions in 47% of patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma.

Tumours were also shown to be reduced in 33% of those with metastatic basal cell carcinoma.

Prof Ruth Plummer, consultant medical oncologist at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, has been leading the clinical trial.

She said: "Although relatively rare, advanced basal cell carcinoma is a highly disfiguring disease stemming from the most common form of skin cancer in the UK.

"With these tumours appearing mainly on the face, neck and scalp, patients often feel socially isolated and, as a result, may suffer emotionally.

"Following the clinical trial we ran in Newcastle, I'm delighted that this treatment is now available to patients across the UK and that we can offer a new non-surgical treatment to patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma.

"Our reputation meant that we were asked to be the Northern site for the clinical trial."

Basal cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma type of skin cancer, is the most common form of cancer in Europe and is usually treated with surgery. …

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