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Zelboraf recommended for NHS patients



Friday 2 November 2012


Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, comments on the announcement that vemurafenib (Zelboraf) has been recommended by NICE for NHS patients with advanced malignant melanoma and a mutated BRAF gene.

Research at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) underpinned the development of Zelboraf, after we found the mutated BRAF gene drives cancer progression in malignant melanoma. Zelboraf has been designed to block this cancer-causing form of the BRAF gene and clinical trials led in the UK by the ICR’s partner hospital, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, showed it could extend life for patients with the BRAF gene mutation.

Professor Ashworth said: “We are delighted that Zelboraf, which The Institute of Cancer Research helped to make possible, is now to become available on the NHS. It represents a great stride forward in the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma, and is a brilliant example of what new-generation targeted cancer therapies can achieve.

“Zelboraf validates the importance of research into the fundamental causes of cancer, since it works by blocking a very specific mutant molecule that fuels the growth and spread of melanomas. It can take time to move research from the laboratory into the clinic, but Zelboraf today becomes the latest in a string of targeted cancer therapies that will deliver real benefits for NHS patients.”




Media Contact: Communications Manager Tatjana Trposka on 020 7153 5312.


Notes to Editors:

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes.

Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit 

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