FDA grants accelerated approval to Bristol-Myers drug for hard-to-treat melanoma

Markets Associated Press

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb to treat the deadliest form of skin cancer.

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The agency approved Opdivo for patients with hard-to-treat melanoma that cannot be removed through surgery or has spread throughout the body. The approval was based on preliminary studies showing the drug helped shrink tumors in some patients.

About 76,100 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 9,710 people are expected to die from the disease.

Melanoma long has been considered one of the toughest cancers to treat, with few drug options up until a few years ago. Since 2011, the FDA has approved seven new drugs for the skin cancer, including Opdivo.