Brand Names

Yervoy® (There may be other names for this medication)

How is Infliximab Administered?

Your medicine will be given by infusion into a vein (intravenous or IV). It takes about 90 minutes to get one dose. Usually, it is given once every 3 weeks up to a total of 4 doses.

Why Am I Taking Ipilimumab?

Ipilimumab is used to treat melanoma (a type of skin cancer) that cannot be removed with surgery or that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).

How Does it Work?

Ipilimumab is not a traditional chemotherapy medication; it is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies, a type of targeted therapy. Traditional chemotherapy drugs identify cancer cells by their rapid rate of reproduction, and then attack those cells. Unfortunately, there are cells in our bodies that normally reproduce rapidly and traditional chemotherapy drugs affect them too.

Ipilimumab is designed to work differently. Instead of attacking rapidly reproducing cells, it activates your immune system. T-cells are a kind of white blood cell; they play a key role in your immune system. On T-cells are CTLAs – cytotoxic T-cell antigens – that recognize and destroy cancer cells. However, the T-cells also have a mechanism that inhibits the CTLAs from attacking cancer cells. Ipilimumab turns off this mechanism, and the CTLAs are free to destroy cancer cells.

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