New drug doubles chance of beating skin cancer

A drug that doubles patients’ chances of surviving malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, has been given the go-ahead.

Ipilimumab, prolongs lives by an average of four months in patients whose cancer has spread to other organs. Some are alive four years after having the treatment.

The drug was approved for routine use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after research showed almost half of patients with advanced melanoma taking it were alive after one year, compared with 25 per cent of those having chemotherapy alone. After two years, 24 per cent of those receiving ipilimumab were alive compared with 14 per cent of those going without.

Patients’ lives were extended by an average of ten months, compared with six months for patients not on the drug – although some were tracked for more than four years, according to results in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more…



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