January 16th, 2020

// First Biologic Treatment for Deadly Type of Skin Cancer Gets Strong Positive Recommendation to be Covered by Provincial Health Care

First Biologic Treatment for Deadly Type of Skin Cancer Gets Strong Positive Recommendation to be Covered by Provincial Health Care

Save Your Skin Foundation Applauds the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review recommendation for Provincial Reimbursement of LibtayoTM, the first and only biologic for the treatment of Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2020 /CNW/ – Save Your Skin Foundation is pleased to announce that the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) has provided a strong positive clinical recommendation for the reimbursement of LibtayoTM (cemiplimab), the first and only biologic for the treatment of advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). If this recommendation is adopted by provincial health care bodies, advanced cSCC patients will finally have free access to LibtayoTM under their provincial health care for this potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer accounting for approximately one fifth of all skin cancer cases in Canada. Over 80,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada every year. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop squamous cell carcinoma in their lifetime.1

The five-year survival rate for metastatic cSCC is just 34.4%. When cSCC invades deeper layers of the skin or adjacent tissues, it is categorized as locally advanced. Once it spreads to other distant parts of the body, it is considered metastatic. Often times, as with all cancers of the skin, cSCC may involve surgical removal of lesions, which may lead to complications or even severe disfigurement, which has a high impact on patients.

“As skin cancer prevalence continues to grow in Canada2, patients and their loved ones need options for treatment of this potentially deadly disease,” says Kathy Barnard, skin cancer survivor and founder of Save Your Skin Foundation. “Squamous cell carcinoma is not ‘JUST’ skin cancer – it is a wake-up call to all Canadians to be vigilant about the risks of skin cancer and the serious nature of its membership to the most common type of cancer.”

“New advanced treatment options like LibtayoTM and diligent reviews by pCODR and INESSS are critical,” says Dr. David Zloty, Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, UBC. “This gives patients and their loved ones hope that this disease may be treated and beaten.”

About Libtayo™
Libtayo™ is a prescription medicine used to treat people with a type of skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that has spread or cannot be cured by surgery or radiation. Libtayo™ is being jointly developed by Regeneron and Sanofi under a global collaboration agreement. LibtayoTM is a fully-human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) and is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic or locally advanced cSCC who are not candidates for curative surgery or curative radiation.

About Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma (cSCC) The leading cause of cSCC is frequent sun exposure. People with fair skin, light hair, and blue, green, or grey eyes are at the highest risk. Patients who have had tissue transplants (and are on anti-rejection drugs), specifically for the kidney, liver or heart, are at a high risk of developing cSCC.

The symptoms of cSCC include:

  • Warts that grow and crust or bleed occasionally. 
  • Scaly red patches, with irregular borders, which sometimes crust or bleed. 
  • Sores that are open and bleed and crust for weeks. 
  • An elevated growth with a central dip that occasionally bleeds.

For more information about cSCC and other types of skin cancer, visit www.saveyourskin.ca

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