This year, melanoma has caused around 8,700 deaths in America. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. But, it can be cured if detected early. However, if metastasis occurs, then the disease cannot be cured and the patient dies. Metastasis is the spread of disease through the lymph nodes to the whole body.
A new drug for cure of advanced melanoma has come up. The drug is called ipilimumab .This drug strengthens the immune system so that it can attack and destroy cancer cells. Thus, it can increase the lifespan of patients with melanoma.
The average survival of patients diagnosed with melanoma is between six to nine months. According to Steven O'Day, Director of the melanoma program at the Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Los Angeles, by using this drug the lifespan can be enhanced by another four months, which is a boon for such patients. He further adds that such a drug was never available before.
The findings of new drugs were presented at of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) by Mr. O'Day.
Patients of this disease do not have many treatment alternatives. The drugs used in chemotherapy can only reduce the size of the tumor by 15%. So, the customary treatment Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is used. With this treatment, the immune system is stimulated to destroy the cancer cells. However, even after this treatment the maximum life span is enhanced to five years.
Thus, this drug seems to be a possible relief for melanoma patients.