Yervoy (ipilimumab) abstracts and valuable new information

Looking more closely at the ipilimumab (Yervoy) abstractsfrom the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting shows that CTLA-4 treatment is emerging with great promise as a combination weapon against melanoma.

There have been so many emails to EssentialGuideToPrescriptionDrugs.com, the editor felt that additional review was warranted. A new Essential Guide publication on Yervoy is being undertaken and release in late July is expected! On editorial review, it is felt that going to www.yervoy.com offers a strong and easy to understand ooverview of the Med Guide for Yervoy(ipilimumab), side effects by organ systems and serious side effects from intestines to liver, skin, nerves, glands (hormones), eyes, pregnancy, most common side effects and things to talk to your healthcare provider about.

Given the nature of the emails that have come into our site, probably the easiest approach for this article will be to address some possible side effects (above) and to offer a way to find the information which was presented at ASCO and briefly clarify and review it. For a look at the 290 documents, enter American Society of Clinical Oncology in your search engine:

Then:

1)      Click on 2011 Annual meeting abstracts. This will take you to the ASCO 2011 annual meeting home page.

2)      Click on search abstracts and leave the default exact phrase and type in ipilimumab.

3)      You will get 290 documents and the first 10 or so will be presented to you with a navigation entry at the bottom of the page.

[cannon]   The first ten items cover a wealth of information on this great new weapon against melanoma.

1)      Study one presents information on the first combination study of ipilimumab (Yervoy) and bevacizumab (Avastin). This combination therapy approach makes great sense in that using more than one cancer medicine is already an established way to kill more of the cancer and make it difficult for cancer cells to find a way to escape from treatment.

2)      Most people are concerned with side effects and safety when they think about a new medicine. This second abstract gives information on the safety profile of ipilimumab (Yervoy) from completed studies in patients with advanced melanoma.

3)      The third item talks about ipilimumab (Yervoy) and a blood test that might relate to colitis. The specific test is IL-17 (interleukin) and Adverse Effects that are more serious (grade 3-4) may be related to levels of this substance.

4)      Looking at ipilimumab (Yervoy) and trying to figure out chemicals on T cells that predict effects is the focus of the fourth abstract. While this is a fairly technical talk on genetics, it makes sense.

5)      Number five gives information on the NIBIT-M1 study. This combined ipilimumab (Yervoy) and fotemustine ( Muphoran) as a Phase two approach in people with melanoma that has spread (metastatic melanoma).

6)      The sixth abstract looked at how BRAF ( serine/threonine protein kinase B-RAF) related to response to ipilimumab (Yervoy). Once again, this involves genetics and some new families of medicines for treating melanoma. BRAF is involved in regulation of cell growth and how cells talk to each other (signaling). BRAF inhibitors are an emerging family of medicines. For example, about 40% of melanoma patients have a BRAF mutation called BRAF 600 E. This may provide a point of attack.

7)      Treating inflammation of the intestines (colitis) and diarrhea from study data and what worked is the focus of the seventh abstract. This is important since ipilimumab (Yervoy can certainly cause diarrhea and it may force people to have to stop treatment.

8)      Melanoma can spread to the brain and abstract 8 looks at ipilimumab (Yervoy) and the safety of this medicine and patient survival in stable asymptomatic brain metastasis.

9)      Abstract nine deals with giving ipilimumab (Yervoy) before starting main treatment. This approach is called neoadjuvant therapy and might improve results (clinical outcomes). This ipilimumab study looked at people with stage 3 melanoma (stage 3B/C).

10)   The final of the first ten studies to come up from this search addresses the issue of overall survival. You will often see this abbreviated as OS and highlights the fact that ipilimumab (Yervoy) is the first melanoma treatment to show this crucial benefit in a phase three study.

We hope that this review and some explanation of the complicated terms is helpful. As always, we appreciate your constructive input.

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