Becky Herry has tried nearly every drug available for melanoma.
A few years ago, that would have been a very short list. Until recently, people with advanced melanoma often died within a year of diagnosis, even with chemotherapy.
For the first time, however, patients such as Herry have options.
The Food and Drug Administration approved two new melanoma drugs in 2011 — the first new therapy for the disease in more than a decade — and approved two from GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday. All improve survival by a few months.
The FDA also has put a Merck melanoma drug, lambrolizumab, on a fast track to approval by designating it a “breakthrough” therapy.
Several other drug companies are also working on melanoma therapies.