Cancer immunotherapy drug – Libtayo (cemiplimab) – approved in the US

Skin cancer (CSCC type) can now be treated with Libtayo (cemiplimab) in the United States.

Cemiplimab enables the activity of the body’s immune system against cancer cells. In the early stages of the disease, immune system attacks and suppresses tumor, but during subsequent evolution cancer cells acquire an ability to disable natural body defence. One of the methods is the inhibition of PD-1 checkpoint. However, molecule governing this mechanism can be occupied by specific antibody-like cemiplimab.

It took three years from the first clinical trial to approval.

The treatment applies explicitly to advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC skin cancer). Further deployment to other diseases is possible in the future.

The approval comes a few days after the pioneers of cancer immunotherapy were awarded a Nobel Prize in medicine.