VA Providence dermatologist to co-chair $34M skin cancer drug study

PROVIDENCE – A nationwide trial co-chaired by a VA Providence Healthcare System dermatologist has been awarded $34 million from the VA Cooperative Studies Program.

The six-year trial aims to measure the effectiveness of imiquimod, a topical medication, as a treatment for basal cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer.

Dr. Martin A. Weinstock, chief of dermatology research for the VA Providence Healthcare System and professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University, is chairing the study, along with Dr. Robert Dellavalle of Colorado.

They hope to recruit more than 1,600 participants across 17 VA medical centers who are at a high risk for basal cell carcinoma.

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Participants will be actively monitored for three years, with a fourth year of less-intensive follow-up.

“This study is important for VA because active-duty military and veterans are at higher risk for developing basal cell carcinoma,” said Weinstock. “If this trial finds that imiquimod is successful at preventing BCC, it would fundamentally transform our approach to the disease.”

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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