Ipilimumab was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2011 for the treatment of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It is undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer (SCLC), bladder cancer and metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
Ipilimumab is a treatment for melanoma that is advanced. Advanced melanoma means that the melanoma has spread deeply into the skin and can't be removed or it has spread to another part of the body.
Ipilimumab works by stimulating T-cells in the body’s immune system. T-cells help to fight cancer and disease. CTLA-4 is a molecule found on the surface of T-cells and it switches them off. Ipilimumab blocks CTLA-4 so that the T-cells stay switched on and active and can attack the cancer cells.