HACKENSACK, N.J. (September 9, 2010) Researchers from the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center played an important role in a study that led to the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) recent fast tracking of ipilimumab, a promising treatment for metastatic melanoma. The FDA based its decision largely on the results of a pivotal study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 19, 2010 the same day the agency accepted Bristol-Myers Squibb's application for the drug's approval and granted the application priority review status.
Ipilimumab is the first drug shown in randomized, placebo-controlled trials to improve survival in stage IV melanoma.
"This study, and the FDA's decision, provides new hope for people with this devastating cancer," said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E., Chairman and Executive Administrative Director, John Theurer Cancer Center, who led the study at the John Theurer Cancer Center. "We are proud to have played a role in helping move another promising cancer treatment closer to market."
The incidence of metastatic melanoma has increased over the last three decades, and the death rate continues to climb faster than that of most other cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, there were approximately 68,000 new cases of melanoma in the United States in 2009, and 8,700 melanoma-related deaths. Melanoma accounts for about three percent of all skin cancers, but 80 percent of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is difficult to treat once it has spread beyond the skin to other parts of the body (metastasized). Very few treatment options exist for people with metastatic melanoma.
In this phase III study, researchers randomly assigned patients to one of three treatment groups: those receiving ipilimumab plus an inactive (placebo) version of gp 100, a cancer vaccine; those receiving ipilimumab plus gp 100; and those receiving gp 100 plus ipilimumab placebo. The trea
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John Theurer Cancer Center