A drug recently approved to treat basal cell carcinoma appears to help patients with a rare condition that causes them to develop multiple skin tumors.
It's called Gorlin Syndrome. Patients develop dozens, if not hundreds, of tumors a year. They are constantly undergoing surgical procedures and are likely disfigured by the time they reach adulthood.
The drug Erivedge was shown to significantly decrease the number of new tumors -- patients on the drug formed two new tumors a year compared to 29 in patients not given the drug. It also caused tumors already present to essentially disappear.
The drug does have significant side effects, like loss of appetite, muscle cramps and hair loss.
Erivedge was approved by the FDA in January for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma -- the most common form of skin cancer.
The study was partially funded by the drug manufacturer, Genentech.