An important discovery has been made in medical field: first melanoma drug that prolongs life. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced the discovery of the first medicine which administered to patients suffering from melanoma, promises to extend their life.
The medicine has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and released on the market. It’s called Yervoy and it’s administered by injection in late-stage or metastatic melanoma. The chemical name for the drug is ipilimumab, and until now it only had results in a small group of patients studied.
They lived an average of four months period of time longer than other patients. But researchers say the medicine is an significant step in treating the deadliest form of skin cancer, which most of the time is unresponsive to any kind of therapy. Tim Turnham, director of the Melanoma Research Foundation said: “Clearly this is not a home run, but it’s a solid base hit. And because we see other things in the pipeline, we think this the first in a series of important new therapies for melanoma.”
Taking Yervoy can have several side effects, most of them affecting body immunity. Patients under treatment may show signs of rash, diarrhea, swelling of the colon or tiredness. Also severe negative reactions were found including irritation of the colon and small intestine, liver and skin.
Usually these side effects were noticed at patients, during their treatment, but some occurred even after ending treatment.
FDA has given their approval for releasing the drug based on a Bristol-Myers study of 676 people who have advanced, inoperable melanoma and already failed previous treatments, giving them a short extension of life span. Test consisted in administrating them one of three variants of treatment: ipilimumab by itself, ipilimumab combined with another immune-stimulating treatment, or the immune-stimulating treatment alone.