FDA grants approval for melanoma medication

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Food and Drug Administration approved a medication to treat patients who have melanoma that’s advanced or can’t be removed by surgery.

Nivolumab, which is marketed as Opdivo by Bristol-Myers Squibb, helps the body’s immune system to attack melanoma tumors. FDA says nivolumab represents the seventh melanoma medication that the agency has approved since 2011.

National Cancer Institute estimates that 76,100 U.S. patients will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2014, and that 9,710 will die from the disease. Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the United States.