MIA leads the world-first study that finds anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab increases the survival of patients
20 April 2015
Melanoma Institute Australia and its key affiliate, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead were the highest recruiting centre worldwide for the study into the immunotherapies pembrolizumab versus ipilimumab, in advanced melanoma, with the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the leading medical journal in the world.
The study found that the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab (trade name KEYTRUDA®) prolonged survival, and had less high-grade toxicity, compared with ipilimumab (trade name YERVOY®) in patients with advanced melanoma, that is, melanoma that has spread to distant parts of the body.
Associate Professor Georgina Long from Melanoma Institute Australia and University of Sydney said, “Here at MIA and Westmead we have been undertaking clinical trials with immunotherapy treatment using anti-PD-1 drugs for over three years, and these findings are the final piece of data that show the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab is better than current treatments for patients with advanced melanoma.”
The immune checkpoint inhibitor, ipilimumab, is one of the standard treatments for patients with advanced melanoma. The latest findings show that pembrolizumab, which inhibits the programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint on immune T cells, has antitumor activity: that is, it reduces the size of the tumours in patients with advanced melanoma in approximately 70% of patients, with deep reduction in over 30%, and prolongs survival compared with ipilimumab.
This clinical trial using pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®) recorded a 1 year survival rate of 74%, whilst those who received ipilimumab (YERVOY®) had a 1 year survival rate of 58%. Five years ago, only 30-35% of patients with advanced melanoma survived 1-year.
“These results are world-first, where two effective immunotherapies are directly compared, and we significantly improve outcomes for patients even further. This is great news for Australia, which has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world, and an Australian dies from this disease every 6 hours” said Assoc Prof Georgina Long. “This is evidence which will be considered by bodies around the world, including the Australian Government, to make these drugs accessible to all melanoma patients".
Research Co-Director of Melanoma Institute Australia and Macquarie University Professor Rick Kefford claims, “this breakthrough is probably the most important development in the treatment of this disease ever, and a landmark in terms of cancer treatment in general.”
Others Australian centres involved in this trial include: Newcastle Melanoma Unit, NSW; The Austin Hospital, VIC; Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, WA; Princes Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Sydney Cancer Centre, RPAH, NSW.
We are extremely grateful for our community fundraisers, who, even in this difficult time, have given up their time and effort to fundraise so we can continue to work towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
Melanoma patients are set to benefit from subsidised access to immunotherapy treatment for high risk early-stage and advanced-stage melanoma patients.
An informative article on how immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, written by Jill Margo and featured in the Australian Financial Review.
Melanoma patients and their families in the Riverina will benefit from strengthened and sustained melanoma services with the merger of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust and Melanoma Institute Australia.
Belmont High School at Lake Macquarie has been announced winner of the 2019 SunSafe Student Ambassador Program video competition.
It’s time again to say thank you to our amazing community fundraisers!
Videos of the sessions at the recent Patient Information Evening co-hosted by Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) are now available for viewing.
MIA is well-represented in the poster sessions at the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in the USA, with four poster presentations being given by members of our translational research lab.
Professor Georgina Long has today opened the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah.
MIA’s Co-Medical Directors, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, have both been named Highly Cited Researchers, according to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list.
Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) and Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) have announced a new multi-year agreement to provide enhanced support services for melanoma patients nationally.
It is time again to say thank you to our incredible community fundraisers who are helping us get closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
MIA has presented promising data regarding progression-free survival rates for advanced melanoma patients at the ESMO 2019 Congress in Barcelona.
Another month has flown by and yet again we have a host of amazing community fundraisers who generously gave up their time to help us reach our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
Comments in favour of giving patients with BRAF-positive melanoma access to first-line immunotherapy need to be submitted online prior to October 9, 2019.
Jay's Longest Melanoma March documentary is screening this Sunday 22 September at 1pm (AEST) on Channel 10, capturing behind the scenes of the 2000km walk, Adelaide to Sydney in 50 days. Uniting to end melanoma.
It’s been a month since we highlighted some of our incredibly generous community fundraisers. We thought we’d have a look back at August and put the spotlight on more of the wonderful people who give up their time to fundraise for MIA, so we can continue to edge closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
They are a formidable team - in work and in play