Researchers have developed a new drug to treat malignant melanoma, a deadliest form of skin cancer.
Powerful X-ray technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy”s (DOE”s) national laboratories has revealed new insights into diseases ranging from Alzheimer”s to the swine flu, and, most recently, enabled the discovery of a groundbreaking new drug treatment for malignant melanoma.
The drug, Zelboraf (vemurafenib), has recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. In showing the structures of diseased and disease-causing molecules at their basic level, these extremely bright light sources enable scientists to suggest potential new treatments.
“This technology is a wonderful example of how innovations at our national laboratories lead to discoveries in a wide variety of fields,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
“In this case, we are pleased to have been involved in research that has shown great promise in the battle against life-threatening melanoma,” he added.
The researchers used a technique called “macromolecular X-ray crystallography” to develop a drug that would prevent the enzyme from doing this. The newly FDA-approved drug, Zelboraf (vemurafenib), was extremely successful during clinical trials in disrupting the disease and extending the lives of those diagnosed with it.