STA-478, A New Skin Cancer Drug Treatment

There is a new skin cancer treatment that is causing a huge buzz. Huge enough that two major Drug makers, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Synta Pharmaceuticals Corporation will be collaborating on the development of an exciting and very promising new skin cancer drug treatment. This drug treatment has been shown to aid in even Stage 1V melanoma, which kills 70 per cent of its victims within one year

Named STA-4783, this is a new, injectable drug candidate that kills cancer cells by overloading cancerous cells with oxygen. Since cancer cells have a much lower tolerance for oxygen than non cancerous cell do, this causes them to self-destruct. This is a new category of anti cancer therapy, with remarkable potential.

In layman’s terms, STA-4783 raises the level of oxygen inside of the cancer cells. Cancer cells can not tolerate as much oxygen as normal cells, and this drug elevates the oxygen inside the cancer cell, and this causes the cell to pass the critical breading point, It then undergoes apoptosis, or programmed cell death. STA has little or no effect upon normal non-cancerous cells.

The fact that this anti cancer strategy can differentiate between the healthy and unhealthy cells targeting only the cancer cells is why scientists are so excited and are hopeful that this treatment will be successful in treating a broad range of cancers

In a double blind study, it was found that STA-4783 when used in moderate doses with Taxol (or paclitaxel), will double the progression free survival in Stage 1V melanoma as compared with Taxol along.

Melanoma is a very deadly skin cancer once it has spread past its site of origin. In Stage 1V melanoma, the cancer has spread all through the body, and the survival rate of people with Stage 1V metastic melanoma is 7-10 months. Since there are very few drugs that are useful for people with advanced skin cancer, this is an important breakthrough.