Cancer drug could offer chemo alternative

September 2, 2009 2:39:59 PM PDT
An experimental drug is offering hope as a new treatment for cancer with fewer side effects than chemotherapy. The drug does not yet have a name but is referred to as GDC-0449. Researchers say it works by inhibiting a process that directs cell growth.

In one study, patients with difficult-to-treat skin cancer responded positively to the drug 50 percent of the time.

In another study, the drug initially had a positive impact on a child with brain cancer, but researchers say after three months the drug's effectiveness tapered off.

There is more on the studies and the medication in the New England Journal of Medicine.