A cure for skin cancer?
A vaccine being tested in the UK has helped been shown to help some patients fully recover from melanoma, even in its advanced stages. It attacks tumour cells, leaving healthy cells undamaged and carries agents that boost the body’s response to skin cancer.
Dr Howard Kaufman, of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Centre, said: “Our study shows we may have a cure for some advanced melanoma patients and a drug which has real benefits for others.
“This will save thousands of lives a year.”
Over the past 25 years, rates of melanoma in Britain have risen faster than any other common cancer and 2,000 die from the disease every year.
A study of 50 patients with advanced melanoma who had been given no more than nine months to live found that 16 per cent of them recovered completely with the vaccine. They have been disease-free for more than four years.
Another 28 per cent saw the size of their tumours more than halved.
It is hoped the licensing will be “fast-tracked” and it will be on the market within five years.
Melanoma is now the most common cancer in young adults aged 15 to 34, with 10,41 new cases diagnosed every year in the UK.