FDA Approves New Drug For Advanced Melanoma

opdivo-86174642The FDA has released a press statement on Opdivo (nivolumab)for advanced Melanoma skin cancer this past week. The FDA  indicated that they have granted accelerated approval for this medication. This means patients will be have access to this medication at an earlier date than previously expected.

“This is very promising information,” states Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board-certified Dermatologist in Austin, Texas. Further research in ways to combat late-stage and more aggressive melanoma skin cancer is extremely important. “It’s an unfortunate but all too common situation. Patients are often unaware that the irregularly appearing mole on their skin is acutally a skin cancer. They present to the dermatologist late into the cancer’s progression, once the cancer has spread beyond the skin.”

Opdivo works by blocking the actions of a protein called PD-1. PD-1 inhibits a patient’s own immune system from attacking the malignant melanoma cells in their body. By stopping PD-1’s actions, Opdivo allows the body to fight off and destroy the advanced melanoma cancer.

“There has been tremendous advancement in melanoma therapies in the last few years,” says Dr. Mamelak. In fact, there have been six other new melanoma treatments approved by the FDA since 2011!  These include therapies such as the immune system activator, CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy), and the melanoma cell killer, BRAF targeting vemurafenib (Zelboraf).

Opdivo is designed for patient with advanced melanoma, where the cancer has metastasized beyond the skin, or cannot be treated with surgery. Find out more information on this new and cutting-edge form of cancer treatment here.

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