Save Your Skin Foundation

Save Your Skin Foundation

September 17, 2014 22:22 ET

Save Your Skin Foundation Applauds Health Canada's Decision to Approve Yervoy® (ipilimumab) for First-Line Treatment of Adults With Metastatic Melanoma, the Most Deadly Form of Skin Cancer

The immunotherapy treatment with long-term survival rates in some previously treated patients is now approved for use in newly diagnosed patients

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 17, 2014) - Save Your Skin Foundation applauds Health Canada's decision to approve Yervoy® (ipilimumab) for first-line treatment of adults with metastatic melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Canadians newly diagnosed with advanced melanoma, regardless of the subtype, will be eligible to receive the immunotherapy as their initial treatment.

Yervoy was first approved by Health Canada in 2012, for the treatment of patients who had tried other systemic therapies without success. It was the first and only new treatment for the disease in more than a decade, proven to significantly extend the lives of patients living with the disease. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in Canada.

Unlike traditional therapies that target the tumour directly, immuno-oncology is a new field of cancer research and treatment that focuses on the development and delivery of therapies that improve the body's intrinsic potential for generating an effective immune response against cancer. Such treatments target the very same pathways tumour cells use to evade recognition and destruction. Yervoy specifically blocks cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), which plays a role in suppressing the normal immune response. Yervoy blocks that suppression to allow the immune system to respond to melanoma cancer cells.

"Nine years ago my doctor put me on Yervoy which was experimental at the time. Having already been through a number of unsuccessful treatments, I did not expect to celebrate another birthday, Christmas or even experience another summer. This treatment didn't just save my life, it gave me my life back," said Kathy Barnard, Founder of the Save Your Skin Foundation. "It's hard enough to be diagnosed with advanced melanoma and patients should have every possible chance on their side. I'm so pleased for what this approval means for newly diagnosed patients. This just gives more hope to patients in a disease area that only a decade ago had no hope at all." The Save Your Skin Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about skin cancer, providing information about treatment options and funding research.

In its late stages, the average life expectancy for melanoma is just six months, with a one-year survival rate of only 25 percent, making metastatic melanoma one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. An estimated 6,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 1,050 will die from it. Melanoma is responsible for 70 percent of the deaths associated with skin cancer.

Yervoy provides those diagnosed with advanced melanoma an important treatment option and a real hope for long-term survival.

About Melanoma in Canada

Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with Melanoma, with the incidence of the disease increasing faster than that of any other cancer. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. One in 59 Canadian men and 1 in 73 Canadian women will develop melanoma in their lifetime. Melanoma is clearly visible on the skin, and 90 per cent of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light, including tanning beds. The survival rate for melanoma is high if it is detected early but the advanced form, metastatic melanoma, is an aggressive disease, which until recently, was characterized by high mortality.

About the Save Your Skin Foundation

The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer - especially melanoma.

Donations go towards providing critical and timely treatments, as well as ongoing education, research, and awareness initiatives.

For additional information please visit www.saveyourskin.ca or contact Karran Finlay at 604-734-4223.

Both patient and treatment spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact Karran Finlay with interest.

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