~ Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments are first to help address
30-year gap-in-care by making Zelboraf available through public funding
OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Eligible patients in Manitoba and
Saskatchewan with melanoma, the deadliest and most aggressive form of
skin cancer, will now have publicly-funded access to Zelboraf
(vemurafenib), a targeted medicine designed to prevent cancer growth in
patients with a specific genetic mutation known as the BRAF mutation.
BRAF mutations are present in approximately half of all cases of
"We commend the Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments for providing
public funding for Zelboraf and giving new hope to patients who have
been without adequate treatment options for decades," said Annette Cyr,
chair of the Melanoma Network of Canada. "We strongly urge other
provinces to follow Manitoba and Saskatchewan's lead and ensure that
all Canadians living with metastatic melanoma have access to the same
high quality of care, regardless of where they live."
Zelboraf, a monotherapy treatment for BRAF mutation-positive
unresectable or metastatic melanoma, is the first personalized medicine
for metastatic melanoma. It targets cancer cells with a specific
genetic mutation (BRAF) that can be detected through a simple genetic
test, allowing oncologists to implement the most effective and
efficient treatment plan for each individual patient. Zelboraf was
approved by Health Canada in February, 2012.
"The decision to add Zelboraf to the provincial formulary in Manitoba
and Saskatchewan is welcomed by the medical community in these two
provinces. We hope that other provincial governments will also fund
this much-needed medication," said Dr. Ralph Wong, Medical Oncologist,
Cancercare Manitoba and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of
Manitoba. "Personalized medicines like Zelboraf take an innovative
approach to health care, allowing oncologists to prescribe the right
treatment to the right patient at the right time, therefore optimizing
the use of health care resources."
For information on melanoma or to get involved, please visit us at www.melanomanetwork.ca. For eligibility criteria, please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/mdbif/bulletin69.pdf or http://www.saskcancer.ca/Formulary%2004-09-12.
Melanoma is one of the fastest-growing cancers worldwide, and can affect
anyone regardless of sex, age or race.1 It is one of the most frequently-diagnosed cancers in Canada, affecting
5,800 people in 2012 and causing 970 deaths.i
The incidence of melanoma has been increasing for the past 30 years,2 more rapidly among men than any other cancer, and more rapidly among
women than any other cancer except lung cancer.3
About the Melanoma Network Canada (MNC)
Melanoma Network Canada (MNC) is a patient-led organization dedicated to
the prevention and elimination of melanoma. Established in 2009 by a
small group of patients and caregivers, the MNC works in collaboration
with medical professionals, health care agencies and other stakeholders
to educate, advocate and fund for early diagnosis and effective
treatment of melanoma, education, prevention and awareness programs,
relevant and innovative research, support for patients and an improved
quality of life for those living with melanoma.
1 Melanoma Network of Canada. Facts Summary. Available at: http://melanomanetwork.ca/page.php?page=14. Accessed August 8, 2012.
2 Public Health Agency of Canada. Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts and Figures.
Available at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/cancer/melanoma_skin_cancer_figures-cancer_peau_melanome_figures-eng.php. Accessed August 8, 2012.
3 Horn-Ross, P.L., Holly, E.A., Brown, S.R., et al. Temporal trends in
the incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma among Caucasians in the
San Francisco-Oakland MSA. Canc Causes Contr.1991; 2(5):299-305.
SOURCE: Melanoma Network of Canada
For further information:
Annette Cyr, Chair
Melanoma Network of Canada