New cancer treatment pioneered in Arizona

February 01, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration has quickly approved a drug to combat basal cell carcinoma. That’s a type of skin cancer that - until now, patients had no other treatment options. From Phoenix, KJZZ's Terry Ward reports.

Basal cell carcinoma, which typically appears on the face and upper body, is the most common of all skin cancers, with more than 1 million people diagnosed a year. When it advances, it can become both disfiguring and deadly. Testing found that the drug shrank tumors in 30 percent of patients whose disease had metastasized. The drug – called Erivedge - was tested as part of a partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. It passed through the FDA approval process in five years -- less than half the normal time. Its expected be available for patient use within two weeks. Researchers say further testing could lead to treatments for other types of cancer. 

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