~ First and only personalized medicine for deadliest form of skin cancer brings news hope to melanoma community ~
TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - The Melanoma Network of Canada (MNC) applauds Health Canada's recent decision to approve Zelboraf (vemurafenib), a targeted medicine designed to prevent cancer growth in patients with BRAF-positive metastatic melanoma.
"Health Canada's approval of Zelboraf is a significant advancement for patients living with metastatic melanoma, as this is a disease area that has been without adequate treatment options for many decades," says Annette Cyr, chair of the Melanoma Network of Canada. "Zelboraf is a targeted therapy, which means physicians can put the right patient on the right treatment, at the right time. This ensures the most effective treatment plan is put in place for each individual patient, and is also an effective use of healthcare resources."
Zelboraf, a monotherapy treatment for BRAF mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma, represents a form of personalized medicine that targets cancer cells with a specific genetic mutation (BRAF). BRAF mutations are present in approximately half of all cases of melanoma,1 the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer.
Melanoma continues to be one of the most under-funded and under-supported diseases. MNC works closely with patients, caregivers and supporters to advocate for drug approval and access in order to ensure the highest standard of care across Canada.
"Melanoma is on the rise in the age group 15 - 34, and it's devastating to watch it take the lives of people when they are so young and have such opportunity for the future," says Cyr. "Our hope is to bring attention to this disease to ensure that patients have access to these targeted therapies across the country. We want to thank all of our dedicated supporters for their continued efforts to raise awareness of melanoma, and we look forward to working with government to make melanoma a priority in Canada."
For information on melanoma or to get involved, please visit us at www.melanomanetwork.ca.
Melanoma is one of the fastest-growing cancers worldwide, and can affect anyone regardless of sex, age or race.2 It is one of the most frequently-diagnosed cancers in Canada, affecting 5,500 people in 2011 and causing 950 deaths.2
The incidence of melanoma has been increasing for the past 30 years,3 more rapidly among men than any other cancer, and more rapidly among women than any other cancer except lung cancer.4
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 Chapman, P.B., Hauschild, A., Robert, C. et al. Improved survival with vemurafenib in melanoma with BRAF V600E mutation. N Engl J Med. 2011; 364:2507 - 2516.
2 Melanoma Network of Canada. Facts Summary. Available at: http://melanomanetwork.ca/page.php?page=14. Accessed January 19, 2012.
3 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 January 17, 2011.
4 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.
For further information:
Annette Cyr, Chair
Melanoma Network of Canada