The targeted treatment option Zelboraf (vemurafenib) has now been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people that have advanced melanoma with a specific gene mutation, called BRAF (V600). Zelboraf is an example of a ‘personalised medicine’– in this case, a medicine which is specifically designed for people with a type of melanoma that can be determined through a diagnostic test.
Given the current unmet need in advanced melanoma, stakeholders around the world have worked together to develop, approve and fund Zelboraf as quickly as possible. Australian patients were some of the first in the world to receive Zelboraf as part of early clinical trials. With melanoma being ‘Australia’s cancer’, funding via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is the next vital step – it is already funded in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and the United States.
According to Dr Georgina Long, Clinical Researcher and Medical Oncologist at The Melanoma Institute of Australia and Westmead Hospital, who was involved in the research: “Advanced melanoma is an aggressive and deadly disease with very few effective drug treatments. Thanks to a better understanding of the melanoma genetic profile, Australians living with advanced melanoma may benefit from personalised medicine, such as vemurafenib, which is designed to target a specific form of melanoma.”
(Source: The Media Game)
For more information on skin cancer including common types of skin cancers, and its treatment and preventative measures, as well as some useful videos, see Skin Cancer.