First personalized treatment for metastatic melanoma now funded in Ontario

~ Melanoma Network of Canada commends Government of Ontario for making Zelboraf available through public funding ~

OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Melanoma Network of Canada applauds the Government of Ontario for providing funding for Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and urges other provinces across the country to do the same. Ontario is now the third province in Canada to add Zelboraf to the provincial formulary for eligible patients, after Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

"We commend the Government of Ontario for providing public funding for Zelboraf, and hope that other provinces will take the necessary steps to ensure access for all Canadians," said Annette Cyr, chair of the Melanoma Network of Canada. "Patients with metastatic melanoma have been without adequate treatment options for 30 years, and all Canadians deserve 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.

"I am pleased to see that the Ontario government has added Zelboraf to the provincial formulary, as, historically, the treatment landscape for metastatic melanoma has been bleak," said Dr. Anthony Joshua, Melanoma Medical Oncologist. "Personalized treatments like Zelboraf give me the confidence that I am prescribing the right treatment to the right patients at the right time. Not only does this help the patients living with this devastating disease, but it ensures that health care resources are being used efficiently. "

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About Melanoma
Melanoma is one of the fastest-growing cancers worldwide, and can affect anyone regardless of sex, age or race.i 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,ii more rapidly among men than any other cancer, and more rapidly among women than any other cancer except lung cancer.iii

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.


i Melanoma Network of Canada. Facts Summary. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2012.
ii Public Health Agency of Canada. Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts and Figures. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2012.
iii 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


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