Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Avelumab: first FDA-approved treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 23 approved the immunotherapy drug avelumab for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) — a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer — for adults and patients 12 years of age and older. Avelumab, marketed as Bavencio, is the first FDA-approved treatment for MCC.

Avelumab is an antibody that targets programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), a protein found on several types of tumors. PD-L1 binds T cells, white blood cells that defend against disease. This inactivates the T cells and allows tumor cells to avoid immune attack. Avelumab binds to PD-L1, preventing the T cells from being switched off so they can still attack tumor cells.

To read more about avelumab, click here.

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