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Redefining Cancer Treatment Shines Light on Cancer Immunotherapies

Campaign features the stories of Canadians impacted by different types of cancer

KIRKLAND, QC, March 4, 2020 /CNW/ - Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada launches a new public awareness campaign about cancer immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment that uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer.1 The campaign, Redefining Cancer Treatment, aims to raise awareness and inform Canadians about cancer immunotherapy by sharing the stories of four Canadians from different parts of the country and their personal journeys.

"When most Canadians think of cancer treatment, typically cancer immunotherapy is not on their radar," said AnnA Van Acker, President and Managing Director, Merck Canada. "The goal of this campaign is to help educate Canadians about the different types of cancer treatments to help empower us all to have more informed conversations with our caregivers."

Shannon, a B.C. local, is one of the patients featured in the campaign. In 2005, not long after she was married, Shannon was diagnosed with melanoma. Despite precautionary methods, she got pregnant. By 2011, her cancer had significantly progressed, and she and her husband were told there was a strong chance neither she nor her unborn child would survive.

"Having cancer was hard enough but learning that there was a strong chance that neither myself nor our child would survive was devastating," said Shannon. "Despite the odds, I gave birth to our daughter, and then started on cancer immunotherapy. Being a mother has changed my life and motivated me to help others with advanced cancer learn about the treatment options available."

The campaign will run on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and the patient stories will be also featured on the website, www.redefining-cancer-treatment.ca. Here, Canadians can learn more about different cancer treatment options and find useful resources for care and support. 

"Cancer immunotherapy is a pillar in cancer care, alongside surgery, radiation and chemotherapy," said Dr. Krista Noonan, medical oncologist, B.C. Cancer Agency. "Continued research and development of cancer treatments are important and can contribute to improved outcomes for patients."

About Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer patients are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, and cancer immunotherapy. Immuno-oncology, a field of medical research which uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer, is an additional pillar in cancer-care treatment.2 Cancer immunotherapy is used to stop or slow the growth of cancer, stop cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, help the immune system work better to destroy cancer cells, and deliver toxins, such as radiation or chemotherapy, directly to cancer cells.3

There are several different types of cancer immunotherapy used to treat cancer.

Canadians are encouraged to visit www.redefining-cancer-treatment.ca to learn more. 

About Merck Canada
For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals ? including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases ? as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world.

In Canada, Merck markets a broad range of vaccines, pharmaceutical and animal health products and is one of the top R&D investors in Canada, with investments totaling $69 million in 2018 and more than $1 billion since 2000. Based in Kirkland, Québec, Merck employs approximately 680 people across the country. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca and connect with us on YouTube and Twitter @MerckCanada.


1 Canadian Cancer Society website: https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/ chemotherapy-and-other-drug-therapies/immunotherapy/?region=on. Accessed February 2020

2 Devita VT, Rosenberg SA. Two hundred years of cancer research. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(23):2207-14. Accessed February 2020

3 Canadian Cancer Society.  http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/chemotherapy-and-other-drug-therapies/immunotherapy/?region=on.  Accessed February 2020


Merck (CNW Group/Merck)


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