Google Play icon

Breakthrough drug co-developed by UCLA scientist approved as first-option treatment for advanced melanoma

Share
Posted December 22, 2015

Pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug that was co-developed by UCLA cancer researcher Dr. Antoni Ribas, has been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as first-line treatment for metastatic melanoma. The first-line designation means that patients will have greater access to the drug without first having to receive other treatments.

Ribas is a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer and a UCLA professor of hematology and oncology.

Healthy human T-cell. Credit: NIAID/NIH, Wikimedia Commons

Healthy human T-cell. Credit: NIAID/NIH, Wikimedia Commons

Pembrolizumab, which is marketed under the brand name Keytruda, works by turning on the immune system’s brakes, keeping its T cells from recognizing and attacking cancer cells.

It originally received accelerated approval by the FDA in 2014 as a treatment for metastatic melanoma. Until recently, however, the drug was only given to patients who were no longer responding to ipilimumab, the current standard first-line therapy. The latest approval was based on the results of a recent study by Ribas and a team of researchers from 16 countries, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We are delighted that pembrolizumab was found to be superior to ipilimumab as first-line therapy by improving responses and survival,” Ribas said. “This approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow physicians to prescribe this drug to patients who they believe will greatly benefit from this treatment.”

After six months, 45 percent of those taking pembrolizumab responded to therapy, compared with 26 percent for ipilimumab.

Source: UCLA

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
84,692 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. Oumuamua 2.0? It Looks Like There is a New Interstellar Object Passing Through the Solar System (September 13, 2019)
  2. Real Artificial Gravity for SpaceX Starship (September 17, 2019)
  3. Top NASA Manager Says the 2024 Moon Landing by Astronauts might not Happen (September 19, 2019)
  4. How social media altered the good parenting ideal (September 4, 2019)
  5. What's the difference between offensive and defensive hand grenades? (September 26, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email