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Community Howard Regional Health begins offering state-of-the-art melanoma cancer treatment

For release on May 12, 2016

Kokomo – Community Howard Regional Health announced today it will begin treating certain melanoma cancer patients with the first-ever oncolytic immunotherapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“At Community Howard we take in pride in giving patients convenient access to cutting-edge therapies,” said Dr. John Salter, a Community Physician Network board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist. “While not a cure, this is an exciting, non-invasive treatment option for certain melanoma patients.”

This immunotherapy, which was approved by the FDA at the end of 2015, is an option for melanoma patients and involves a gene-modified version of the herpes virus injected into a tumor. This immunotherapy is given to a patient via injection directly into the skin cancer lesions.

According to Salter, the virus is modified so that it only replicates within cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. The virus eventually causes cancer cells to rupture and die. It also creates an anti-tumor response by the patient’s immune system.

“The treatment was designed in such a way that it combats the individual tumor cell directly and then jumpstarts the patient’s own immune system so that it attacks the cancer cells as well,” Salter said.

Salter underwent training to be able to administer the immunotherapy at Community Howard.

“A part of our commitment to providing exceptional patient care at Community Howard is an emphasis on staying current on new and creative treatment options,” Salter said. “Having this immunotherapy available gives us an exciting new option when we consider which treatment will work best for individual patients.”

About Community Howard Regional Health
Community Howard Regional Health, part of Community Health Network, offers high-quality, patient-centered services close to home. A compassionate and comfortable environment of care is provided at two hospital campuses—a full-service hospital (main campus) and rehabilitation hospital. The main campus offers primary and specialty inpatient and outpatient services, which include a full-service heart program, behavioral health, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, emergency, sleep disorders, surgery, wound care, obstetrics and gynecology. Outpatient rehabilitation services are offered at Community Howard Specialty Hospital, located 15 minutes from the main campus. To learn more about Community Howard Regional Health, visit eCommunity.com/howard.

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George Mast, Manager Communications & Public Relations, Community Howard
George Mast
Manager Communications & Public Relations, Community Howard Regional Health