FDA approves drug that uses herpes virus to treat melanoma lesions

Food and Drug Administration officials have approved the use of Imlygic — a drug that includes the herpes virus — to treat melanoma lesions in the skin and lymph nodes, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The drug is injected into tumors and uses the herpes virus to rupture the cancerous cells. Federal health officials were careful to note the drug has not been shown to treat melanoma that has spread to the brain, bone, liver, lungs or other internal organs.

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Still, with more than 74,000 Americans estimated to be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, the FDA's approval of the drug is promising.

"Melanoma is a serious disease that can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes difficult to treat," said Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "This approval provides patients and healthcare providers with a novel treatment for melanoma."



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