New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
June 6, 2012
New treatment option for rare form of basal cell carcinoma

Jean Y. Tang, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘11-‘14) of Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues, reported the success of a newly approved drug, vismodegib/Erivedge, in dramatically shrinking basal cell carcinoma (BCC) skin cancers and preventing new ones from forming in patients with basal cell nevus syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes dozens to thousands of skin cancers on each patient’s body. The Phase II clinical trial was stopped early because of the overwhelming effectiveness of the drug, which provides the possibility of an alternative treatment to surgical removal. It blocks the Hedgehog signaling pathway, which is inappropriately activated in BCC as well as other cancer types. The report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.