An experimental drug can shrink skin cancer tumours, according to early stage trials of the new treatment. U.S. researchers call this “unprecedented.” Within two weeks of receiving the drug, 31 patients whose skin cancer had travelled throughout their body, saw their tumours shrink. The drug is called PLX4032, and it acts by blocking the gene BRAF that causes skin cancer to spread. This follows a recent trend in cancer research, where blocking gene activity via medication has been helpful in treating myloid leukaemia and gastric cancer. Not only is the speedy shrinkage exciting, but so is the fact that 70 per cent of patients who have been given the drug have responded well. Other cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, do not always work. The research is being presented at cancer conference in Berlin. The researchers stress that while this is not a cure, it should improve the quality of life of skin cancer patients and slow their deterioration.