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Skin cancer drug offers new hope

Advanced melanoma is a devastating disease and new treatments are desperately needed, so it's especially pleasing that patients will now be able to benefit from a drug that we helped develop.

The success of vemurafenib demonstrates the importance of our approach to developing personalised medicines for cancer.

– Prof Alan Ashworth, chief executive of the Inst of Cancer Research

Skin cancer drug increases life expectancy

The new drug, vemurafenib, taken as four pills twice a day, blocks a specific cancer-causing form of a gene which has been identified by specialists.

A test is available to identify patients who might benefit from the treatment.

In clinical trials vemurafenib increased the life expectancy of patients with advanced disease from 9.6 months to 13.2 months.