FDA OKs New Drug to Combat Melanoma

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 04:50 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Merck & Co. on Thursday won the first U.S. approval for a new kind of cancer drug with big advantages over chemotherapy and other older cancer treatments.
 
The Food and Drug Administration said it has granted accelerated approval to Merck's Keytruda, for treating melanoma that's spread or can't be surgically removed, in patients previously treated with another cancer drug.

The genetically engineered drug, known chemically as pembrolizumab, is part of a hot, promising new class of antibody-based drugs. They work by taking a brake off the immune system so it can better recognize and attack cancer cells.
 
Special: Prescription Drugs: Are You Taking Too Many?

"Ninety percent of patients have basically no side effects," Dr. Antoni Ribas, a UCLA researcher who was the lead investigator of a crucial study of Keytruda, told The Associated Press in an interview.

By comparison, most patients getting chemotherapy suffer with nausea, vomiting and hair loss.

In addition, Ribas said, Keytruda and other "immune-therapy" drugs appear likely to work against many more types of cancer than older drugs, and in a much higher percentage of patients. In a study of 600 patients, one-third of them benefited from the drug, with 62 percent of those alive after 18 months.

Chemotherapy drugs have an average survival of about nine months, while some newer cancer drugs on average keep patients alive for 11 to 15 months, he noted.

"This is just the start," Ribas said, adding that earlier tries at immune therapy for cancer typically helped only 5 to 10 percent of patients.

Merck's drug is the first in the class of what's called anti-PD-1 drugs approved in the U.S.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a partner have a drug similar to Keytruda, called Opdivo, that was approved in Japan in July. They are seeking U.S. approval for it.
 
Special: Prescription Drugs: Are You Taking Too Many?


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Food Pesticide Residue Nothing to Worry About: USDA

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 10:26 AM

More than half of food tested by the U.S. government for pesticide residues last year showed detectable levels of pestic . . .

Beware of Holiday Allergy Triggers

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 10:16 AM

The holidays can be anything but joyous for people with allergies when they contend with fresh trees, scented candles an . . .

Diagnose Your Kid's Ear Infection With Your iPhone

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 16:15 PM

Diagnosing your kid's ear infections might soon be as simple as taking a video on your smartphone. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved