Synta therapy slows spread of melanoma

Lexington, MA-based Synta Pharmaceuticals caused quite a stir with a recent presentation on an early-stage cancer therapy that slowed the spread of aggressive skin cancer. In the Phase IIb trial, researchers said that cancer patients taking Synta's therapy survived 3.7 months without the appearance of new cancer lesions--compared to 1.8 months for patients taking standard therapy. The therapy adopts a new approach in cancer; killing cancer cells by overloading them with oxygen. Normal cells can adjust to higher oxygen levels. Advanced melanoma is a particularly lethal disease, killing 7 out of 10 patients in the first year. A bigger study involving 600 patients is being planned. Synta was a 2004 Fierce 15 Company.

- see Synta's release on the data

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