The cure for skin cancer may be closer than we once thought.
Scientists at the Dana-Farber Institute in Boston, Mass. are giving hope to those with serious melanoma. They have finished a ten-year study on the effects of a new drug called ipilimumab, which may add ten years to life expectancy.
The study examined 4,846 patients with advanced melanoma and found that if patients who took the drug survived past three years, they usually made it through another seven, even if they stopped taking the drug or only took a few doses.
This is two to three times the survival rate of patients treated with other drugs, MedicalXpress.com reports.
The results were presented at the 2013 European Cancer Congress on Saturday.
“Our data, which represent the longest follow-up of the largest numbers of patients on any globally approved melanoma therapy, will provide a benchmark for future medicines for advanced melanoma,” Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Stephen Hodi told the Congress.
Ipilimumab works as an antibody that enables the immune system to recognize and kill melanoma cells, according to MSN.com
Researchers now predict that metastatic melanoma could have a cure within the next ten years.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases in over two million people are diagnosed every year, according to SkinCancer.org. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. From 1970 to 2009, the melanoma incidents increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.
Sources: MSN.com, Medical Express, SkinCancer.org