New Breakthrough Melanoma Drug approved by FDA

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, rates of melanoma have been increasing for the past 30 years. By 2015, it is estimated that 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of melanoma unable to be surgically removed, reports the Dermatology Times. Keytruda is the sixth new melanoma treatment approved since 2011. Preliminary clinical evidence suggests that Keytruda is an improvement over current drugs targeting melanoma. Keytruda is the first melanoma drug to block a cellular pathway known at PD-1, allowing the immune system to attack cancerous cells. While the preliminary results are encouraging, more research must be done to determine if Keytruda enhances the survival rate of patients with advanced melanoma.