Melanoma drug to be approved in Australia

Graphic related to cancer drug Keytruda from

Graphic related to cancer drug Keytruda from

Sydney [AAP]

A new frontline treatment for advanced melanoma is reportedly about to get the go-ahead in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Encouraging results from clinical trials of Keytruda, which significantly improves survival rates, mean the drug is also likely to soon be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, News Corp Australia reports.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows Keytruda is also better at shrinking tumours and has fewer side effects that the current drug of choice, Yervoy.

Professor Grant McArthur from Melbourne’s Peter McCallum Institute said the data shows it’s a significant step forward in treatment.

‘And it is not just melanoma, with good data emerging in lung cancer, bladder cancer, head and neck cancer showing some promise,’ Prof McArthur told News Corp.

Businessman and one-time Melbourne Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker has campaigned for the drug’s access in Australia, after he was declared cancer-free following a US trial.

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