FDA Approves New Treatment for Melanoma

People with late-stage (metastic) melanoma were given new hope March 25 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Yervoy (ipilimumab) for the treatment of this deadliest type of skin cancer. In a single, international study, patients treated with Yervoy, or Yervoy plus an experimental tumor vaccine called gp100, lived about four months longer than those who were given the vaccine alone.

Yervoy is a monoclonal antibody that blocks a molecule know as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen or CTLA-4. Scientists believe that CTLA-4 plays a part in slowing down or turning off the body’s immune system, affecting its ability to fight off cancer cells. It is thought that Yervoy allows the body’s immune system to recognize, target, and attack the cells in melanoma tumors.

Marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Yervoy is administered intravenously and comes with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy due to unusual and severe side effects.

Source: FDA News Release

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