Erivedge™ (vismodegib) is a First-in-Class Treatment That Helps Shrink Disfiguring or
Potentially Life-Threatening Lesions in Advanced Form of Skin Cancer
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Aug. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Erivedge™ (vismodegib) was
recently approved in Canada for the treatment of adult patients with
histologically confirmed metastatic basal cell carcinoma or locally
advanced basal cell carcinoma inappropriate for surgery or
radiotherapy. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of
canceri,ii and accounts for 80 per cent of all skin cancer cases.i If left untreated, BCC can progress to more advanced stages resulting
in severe deformities and debilitating effects,iii and can even lead to death.iv When BCC progresses to an advanced state, surgical and non-surgical
treatments are not effective or suitable,v, vi which, up until now, has left this patient population with no treatment
"Previously, there were limited medical therapies available to treat
this rare and potentially life-threatening disease," says Dr. Marni C.
Wiseman, Dermatologist. "Advanced BCCs are often open lesions that may
bleed, become infected, and may be associated with unpleasant odours,
resulting in both stigmatization and social isolation for patients. The
approval of Erivedge™ offers new hope for Canadians living with this
devastating disease and gives their health care providers a new
treatment option for advanced BCC management."
Murray Thorimbert of Whitby, Ontario, has lived with advanced BCC for
almost 35 years. Murray received Erivedge™ as part of a clinical trial.
"Since my early 20s, I have had six to seven surgeries each year to
remove BCCs - I even had part of my scalp removed - but the lesions
just kept coming back," says Thorimbert. "The continual procedures took
a serious toll on me and my family. Since I started taking Erivedge, my
lesions started to clear up and I felt like I started to get my life
back. I haven't had a single surgery since."
About Advanced BCC
BCC affects as many as 60,000 Canadians each year,vii and it is estimated that one per cent of all BCC cases will progressviii,ix to advanced BCC and either invade the surrounding tissue (locally
advanced) or spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).x,xi Patients whose disease has spread to the surrounding tissue may require
the removal of key sensory organs such as the eye, ear or nose to
control the disease,xii,xiii while those whose disease has metastasized will have a median survival
of just eight to 10 months.xiv,xv
"When BCC goes untreated and turns into advanced BCC, the consequences
of the disease can be devastating, and even fatal," says Kathy Barnard,
Founder, Save Your Skin Foundation, and skin cancer survivor. "Although
the medical consequences of advanced BCC are very serious, the
embarrassment and social isolation associated with the disease
sometimes prevents patients from seeking treatment. The approval of
Erivedge gives patients with advanced BCC an effective treatment
option, which can give them the courage to come forward, contribute to
society and live fulsome, productive lives."