The Save Your Skin Foundation celebrates recognition of ground-breaking melanoma treatment as most innovative therapy of the year

Yervoy sets benchmark for the promising new era of cancer immunotherapy

VANCOUVER, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - The Save Your Skin Foundation is thrilled that Yervoy  has been recognized for its important contribution as a pioneer in the new dawning era of treatments for the most deadly of skin cancers, metastatic melanoma. This ground-breaking treatment has been recognized by the Prix Galien Canada and received the 2013 Innovative Product Award which is considered the most prestigious award in Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation.

The recognition of Yervoy has particular significance for the Save Your Skin Foundation. Ten years ago, Foundation President and Founder Kathy Barnard was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, for which the average life expectancy at the time was about six months. She was part of one of the early clinical trials for Yervoy and is alive and healthy today and fully committed to working through the Foundation to help to prevent other Canadians from getting skin cancer and to support patients and their families who are currently dealing with this deadly disease.

"Yervoy is the reason I am alive today, so it is immensely gratifying to see this hugely innovative and valuable treatment honoured with the Prix Galien Canada," said Kathy. "Yervoy represents the start of an exciting and very promising new era in treating metastatic melanoma, and also other cancers, as it opens the way to other new therapies that, like Yervoy, harness the body's immune system to fight cancer."

Dr. Michael Smylie, an oncologist specializing in melanoma and lung cancer at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, who treated Kathy, agrees that Yervoy is the start of a new and exciting approach to cancer  treatment - immunotherapy. "Yervoy has led the way to making immunotherapy a viable approach. It has received recognition because of the way it works. In simple terms, Yervoy works by taking the brakes off the body's immune system, giving it more power to fight the cancer cells that are invading the body and harming it."

"With the arrival of treatments like Yervoy, we now have a new way to treat cancer. We have to stop thinking of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy as the only options. Among those patients who respond to immunotherapy, we have seen some remarkable and long-term results, such as with Kathy," added Dr. Smylie.

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 74 men and 1 in 90 women are expected to develop melanoma during 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.

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.

For more information, please visit www.saveyourskin.ca.

SOURCE: Save Your Skin Foundation

For further information:

Madelynn Festing, Media Relations
Save Your Skin Foundation
T: 1-604-734-4223
kfm@saveyourskin.ca


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