EMA OKs Bristol-Myers Yervoy

NEW YORK (AP) - Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Thursday the European Commission has approved its treatment Yervoy for use in adults with previously treated advanced melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

The New York drug maker said it will work to expedite Yervoy's availability across the European Union.

U.S. regulators approved Yervoy in March for advanced melanoma in both newly diagnosed patients and those who have failed on another therapy. The drug works by stimulating the immune system to recognize and then destroy cancer cells.

A study presented last month that tested Yervoy in newly diagnosed patients with advanced, or metastatic, melanoma, showed that the injected drug can extend life. Among patients who received Yervoy combined with the current standard of care, a cell-killing drug called dacarbazine, 21 percent were alive after three years. That compared with 12 percent for those getting dacarbazine alone.

Shares of Bristol-Myers climbed 19 cents to $29.22 in midday trading Thursday.

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