Studies: 2 New Drugs Can Slow Advanced Melanoma

Physicians apparently have two strong new weapons against melanoma, according to studies that show a pair of drugs are effective at slowing the cancer in its advanced stage. The drugs could be game-changers for doctors and patients who have long struggled to find effective ways to treat the type of skin cancer.

The New York Times reports the results were presented at a American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting and published in The new England Journal of Medicine, prompting a University of Pennsylvania melanoma specialist to call the findings “an unprecedented time of celebration for our patients.”

The drug combination doesn’t necessarily cure melanoma, but could potentially add several months to patients’ lives by attacking a genetic mutation that accelerates tumor growth while allowing the immune system to more effectively battle the cancer. Hopefully the drugs will put a dent in the growing threat from the disease. Melanoma caused 8,700 deaths in the U.S. last year, 1,000 more deaths than it caused in 2000.

Drugs Show Promise Slowing Advanced Melanoma [The New York Times]