Friday, July 24, 2009

Bristol-Myers Squibb thinks they have a winner against melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb recently purchased Medarex showing that they are willing to gamble billions of dollar on the experimental drug called ipilimumab. Having just concluded final stage clinical trials early results are showing that some people are seeing complete and lasting remissions from this immunotherapy agent. Like other immunotherapies, ipilimumab works with your immune system to help fight off the disease. This particular drug attempts to block the activity of a molecule on your T-cells called CTLA-4 which studies have shown can suppress the immune system's response against melanoma.

"We wouldn't be betting $2.4 billion in cash unless we were optimistic" it would work, said Bristol-Myers Chief Executive James Cornelius

Results from this most recent trial are expected next year. Positive results could lead to FDA approval. The FDA has already designated fast track status for ipilimumab which helped get it quickly through clinical trials.

I am excited to see that there is a lot of buzz about this treatment, but only time will tell what if any effect this drug will have. There was another clinical trial that included this drug along with another immunotherapy agent that was in Phase III study. It had closed just about the time I was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma. There are currently no other clinical trials that include ipilimumab that I am interested in.

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