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New Melanoma Treatment Vaccine Shows Promise in Trial
  • Posted December 15, 2023

New Melanoma Treatment Vaccine Shows Promise in Trial

A new melanoma vaccine has shown its mettle in battling the deadly skin cancer in a new trial.

People with advanced melanomas who received the vaccine plus Merck's cancer drug Keytruda were 49% less likely to die or have their cancer return after three years than those who were given only Keytruda, vaccine maker Moderna Inc. announced Friday.

"Importantly for this technology, the... study was the first demonstration of efficacy for an investigational mRNA cancer treatment in a randomized clinical trial and the first combination therapy to show a significant benefit over Keytruda alone in adjuvant melanoma," Moderna Senior Vice President Dr. Kyle Holen said in a company news release. "We look forward to sharing these data with people impacted by this disease and the broader scientific community."

The findings are based on an ongoing randomized trial involving 157 patients with high-risk stage 3/4 melanoma who first had surgery to completely remove cancerous growths.

Patients who got 1 milligram (mg) of the mRNA vaccine every three weeks for a total of nine doses, along with 200 mg of Keytruda every three weeks for about a year. Their outcomes were compared to those using Keytruda alone for approximately a year.

The companies have already begun Phase 3 trials of the vaccine-drug combo, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has designated the treatment as a breakthrough therapy, to speed its development and review.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with melanoma accounting for about 1% of skin cancer cases in the United States. That said, it is responsible for most skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). About 97,610 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States this year, with nearly 8,000 deaths, the ACS stated.

More information

Visit the Skin Cancer Foundation for more on melanoma.

SOURCE: Moderna Inc., news release, Dec. 14, 2023

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