FDA Green Lights Viral Therapy for Melanoma

A new cancer drug that essentially fights fire with fire has received approval for use in America by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Imlygic is an oncolytic viral therapy that is used to kill off melanoma cells that re-emerge after initial surgical interventions.

What makes Imlygic so unique is that it is the first-ever viral therapy approved in the United States for the treatment of melanoma. The drug is injected directly into lesions and goes to work by introducing a genetically modified herpes simplex virus into the system. The virus replicates within tumors and stimulates an immune response that effectively kills the cancer cells and the herpes along with it. The treatment does require multiple injections over the course of several months to produce its greatest results. Some side effects do exist, as well, making the therapy not suitable for all melanoma patients.

While this form of treatment might seem odd, research has shown it can be especially helpful for treating advanced melanoma that isn’t responding to other forms of treatment. One study involving nearly 450 patients, for example, produced tremendously strong results in a number of patients. While it is not recommended in all melanoma cases, the therapy provides an option for those facing advanced forms of the disease.

Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the United States. While melanoma doesn’t present in every case, this form of the disease is known to be especially deadly when it reaches advanced stages. Imlygic simply presents another option for treating the disease when surgical intervention has failed.

People who are at risk for skin cancer are urged to talk with their healthcare providers. Routine visual examinations meant to detect skin cancer early can lead to rapid diagnosis and more effective treatment. In some cases, Imlygic may offer a solution for fighting back against forms of melanoma that may otherwise be extremely difficult to treat.

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