New treatment developed for skin cancer patients

By WEEK Producer

June 3, 2014 Updated Jun 3, 2014 at 9:51 PM CDT

Two new treatments for advanced skin cancer are being hailed as exciting and striking following two international trials.

The treatments are designed to enable the immune system to recognize and target tumors.

Advanced melanoma, skin cancer can spread to other organs, and has proved difficult to treat.

Until a few years ago, the average survival was around six months.

"I have a life, that's the difference,” said cancer patient Warwick Steele. “Before, all I had to look forward to was weeks, maybe months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy. With this drug coming along, it's wonderful, it's a lifeline."

"It's truly astonishing that such a new drug at a very early stage of development is really showing us tangible benefits at such an early stage,” said Dr. David Chao of Royal Free Hospital.

The experimental drugs block the biological pathway cancers use to disguise themselves from the immune system.

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