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About 15,000 people are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcomas every year in the United States. About 4,800 of them will die. Soft tissue sarcomas are cancers that originate in the tissues connecting, supporting, and surrounding other body structures, such as muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of joints. Often the chemotherapeutic agents used to treat soft tissue sarcomas are as devastating to the patient as the disease. Though oncologists often measure success as simply days of survival regardless of the quality of those days, Janssen was launching the first new product in many years for that was proven to prolong progression-free survival, with potentially less cumulative toxicity.
To make a splash with oncologists, YONDELIS® went underwater. The first marine-derived anti-cancer drug was isolated several decades ago. Scientists look to marine animals for cancer treatments because these animals use chemicals in their fight for food and survival. The theory is that these same chemicals might be adapted for fighting bacteria or cancer cells in humans.
The Diver campaign signifies that YONDELIS® is a move upward and forward for treatment of advanced liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. Finally, oncologists have a new, potentially less toxic, treatment option for these rare diseases. The diver is symbolic of the derivation of the drug it represents as well as the hope it brings to doctors and patients who need it.
The campaign has propelled oncologists to try YONDELIS® for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. Through the clinically relevant campaign and widely disseminated educational programs, uptake and trial of YONDELIS were enormous. Market research showed that brand recognition and message recall exceeded 60% among target audiences and sales were 300% above forecast within 6 months post launch. And, most importantly, patients finally had access to a new, effective option for the treatment of this devastating disease.