What does cancer mean for us today?


The New York Times has done a great piece on the state of art in cancer biology now. With a wonderfully cute video, complete with drawings , Picture This: Cancer is perfect for the lay person as well as the scientists of the world to show us how science communication is quite the talent. Nice one George Johnson et al.

Click here for the full article.

But today is also great news for some cancer patients as the FDA approval for a new melanoma drug is finalised. ABC reports on the drug Vemurafenib, a pill that targets a specific gene mutation found in about half of melanomas. Most sufferers of skin melanoma do not survive more than 9 months but this drug has shown a dramatic effect on shrinking these tumours by around 70%. It specifically targets the protein product of the mutation found in 50% of melanomas effectively killing the cancerous cells specifically, having no detrimental effect on normal cells in the body.

Medical oncologist from Sloan-Kettering Paul Chapman is delighted with the results. For those who have this mutation he says, “This is the first pill that you can take that will shrink your melanoma, and we know will leave you living longer than you would have.”

What splendid news for a Thursday afternoon.


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