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LUNGevity Foundation Applauds FDA Approval of Immunotherapy Drug Opdivo


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WASHINGTON (March 2015) – LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer nonprofit, applauds the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Bristol Myers Squibb’s new immunotherapy drug Opdivo (nivolumab). Opdivo and other immunotherapy treatments add another critical new treatment option to fight lung cancer by harnessing the power of a patient’s own immune system to fight cancerous cells. Importantly, this drug has been approved specifically for patients with squamous cell lung cancer, a population for which there have been few new treatment options.

“The FDA approval of Bristol Myers Squibb’s new drug Opdivo is an important step in bringing this game-changing treatment to patients nationwide,” said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. “We are thrilled to have a new tool in the kit of treatment options for our lung cancer community. There is still a lot of work to be done in understanding the true impact of the treatment over the long term, but this is a very exciting development.”

LUNGevity has been an ongoing investor in accelerating promising and innovative lung cancer research that helps find and treat the disease more effectively, including in the expanding field of immunotherapy.

“Immunotherapy is transforming the lung cancer treatment paradigm, providing the most promising option yet in the second-line treatment for squamous cell lung cancer patients,” said Dr. Julie Brahmer, MD, LUNGevity scientific advisory board member and thoracic cancer director at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins. “There’s still work to be done to determine which immunotherapy can best help which patient and which treatment combinations are most successful. The results of the Opdivo trials show the critical importance of lung cancer research and the extraordinary power of collaboration of researchers, physicians, and patients. The concurrence of patient and research interests has expedited the process behind this treatment from basic research to clinical trials to the initial step toward immunotherapy existing as the primary treatment for lung cancer. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Dr. David Carbone, MD, PhD, LUNGevity scientific advisory board member and director of the thoracic oncology center at The Ohio State University, concurs. “The revolutionary new field of immunotherapy has completely transformed the way we treat and understand the disease. While not a panacea for everyone, immunotherapy is a quantum leap for lung cancer treatments, and will only show more promise as research continues to unveil innovative and exciting ways to tap the potential of this therapy.”

For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.

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