Most of the major advances in the targeted treatment of melanoma have been in biologic therapies, according to Dr. Heffernan.
“One of the first biologic treatments developed [and approved] for melanoma ipilimumab injection (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) is for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma. It upregulates the immune system to fuel the immune response to the cancer,” he said.
More to come
Dr. Heffernan said he anticipates that, by 2025, there will be several biologic agents approved for the targeted treatment of specific skin diseases.
“As the familiarity with biologics has grown and the comfort with their safety profile has grown, dermatologists and other investigators have felt more and more comfortable studying biologics in some less common but still severe diseases,” he said. “That’s really gratifying because sometimes the use of these medications has taught us about the diseases, and has shown that sometimes there are safe and hopefully effective ways to treat people who suffer from these life-altering diseases.”