AAD Launches New Skin Cancer Awareness Initiative
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) launched a new campaign aimed at increasing awareness for skin cancer and screenings. Entitled “Who’s Got Your Back?”, the campaign is focused on the importance of applying sunscreen and examining skin for suspicious spots. While the back is a hard area of the body to protect with sunscreen, it’s also an important one, since it is the most common location for melanoma, according to the AAD.
According to a recent online survey conducted by the AAD, 37 percent of people rarely or never apply sunscreen to their back when it’s exposed to the sun, and 43 percent rarely or never ask someone else to help them apply sunscreen to their back. Men are more likely than women to rarely or never apply sunscreen to their back and to rarely or never ask someone else for help. Men are also twice as likely as women to report that they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking anyone to apply sunscreen to their back, the results indicate. If no one else were around to provide help with sunscreen, 14 percent of survey respondents would not take any action, like seeking shade or wearing protective clothing, to shield their back from the sun.
To emphasize the importance of sun protection on the back, the AAD released a “Who’s Got Your Back?” video in conjunction with Melanoma Monday, available at www.aad.org.
Merck’s Pembrolizumab Demonstrates Positive Results in Phase III Study for Advanced Melanoma
Results from a Phase III study indicate that the investigational agent pembrolizumab (Merck) may increase progression free survival rates in patients with unresectable advanced melanoma. In the study, pembrolizumab was statistically superior to ipilimumab for progression-free survival, overall survival (OS), and overall response rate (ORR). Pembrolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. By binding to the PD-1 receptor and blocking the interaction with the receptor ligands, pembrolizumab releases the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response, including the anti-tumour immune response. The results were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR, abstract # CT101), and were also published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Merck is advancing a broad and fast-growing clinical development program for pembrolizumab with more than 85 clinical trials – across more than 30 tumour types and more than 14,000 patients—both as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapies.
Topical Anti-Herpes Treatment Improves Clinical Symptoms in Animal Model
New mice studies show promise for a nanomedicine to treat herpes simplex virus. In a study, two agents known as nanoviricides® reduced the extent of disease (morbidity) and mortality of the HSV-1 infected animals that were treated. These nanoviricides also reduced virus production in cell culture. Importantly, topical dermal treatment with these nanoviricides led to almost complete (greater than 85 percent) survival of the infected mice in this animal model whereas all untreated animals died of the disease. Further, these nanoviricides were superior to topical treatment with an acyclovir formulation employed as a positive control.
The nanoviricides appeared to block the progression of the virus infection as observed by a reduction in the progression of the spreading of lesions. They also prevented the development of scabbing of the herpes virus infected lesions in the animal model. For untreated and sham treated animals, the HSV infection progressed from initial redness at the site of infection to lesions that progressed on the skin along the nerve and internally to ultimately kill the mouse. n