Skin Cancer: New Immunotherapy Protocol With Adoptive T Cell Transfer Combined With DC Vaccination Shows Promise For Advanced Skin Cancer
: A novel immunotherapy protocol involving adoptive T cell transfer combined with dendritic cell vaccination for the skin cancer malignant melanoma shows promising results.
The clinical research involving three severely ill patients who are now long-term survivors has given optimism for others in a similar predicament.
The research published in the journal: OncoImmunology, is the result of a collaboration between researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2162402X.2020.1792058
Dr Maria Wolodarski, an oncologist and researcher at Karolinska Institutet told Thailand Medical News, ‘Immunotherapy is based on activation of the body's own immune defense to eliminate cancer cells. Immunotherapy achieved substantial progress, particularly when the treatment with immune-activating antibodies (Immune Checkpoint Inhibition, ICI) was introduced. This prolongs the survival of patients with advanced melanoma."
Dr Maria Wolodarski is the study's principal investigator and responsible for patient contact and recruitment.
Dr James Allison and Dr Tasuko Honjo were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine two years ago for the discovery which resulted in ICI treatment.
The majority of patients with advanced malignant melanoma however do not respond to this or other types of treatment. It is this group that the research team has now treated with a new combination of two types of immunotherapy.
The new protocol first involves a special type of white blood cells, T-cells, being extracted from the patient's own tumor. Those "Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes", TIL cells, are an important part of the body's immune defense against cancer. The TIL are multiplied up to 50 billion cells and administered back to the patient in combination with a growth factor, Interleukin-2.
Dr Stina Wickström, researcher at the Department of Oncology-Pathology at Karolinska Institutet, and responsible for coordinating production of the TIL cells and for the study's immune monitoring commented, "What makes this study unique compared to other international clinical trials with TIL cells is that the patients are also treated with several doses of a tumor vaccine consisting of dendritic cells, DC, which specialize in activating the immune system and giving the injected TIL cells an extra boost."
It was observed that of four severely ill patients with malignant melanoma receiving treatment with this combination of TIL cells and DC tumor vaccine, three have responded with complete or near complete remission of the cancer. This has occurred in spite of the fact that the group no longer responds to other types of cancer treatment. They are long-term survivors who have had the disease for several years.
In the study, five patients that have been treated with TIL cells alone did not have the same favorable response to the treatment as when the treatment was provided in combination with the tumor vaccine.
The new protocol is part of Karolinska University Hospital
39;s strengthening of cell therapy and Dr Rolf Kiessling, head of the study, has applied to the Swedish Medical Products Agency for approval to also test the method on other types of metastatic cancer.
This new investigator-initiated study is financed by the Swedish Cancer Society, the Cancer Society in Stockholm, the Swedish Research Council, the City of Stockholm, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Torsten Söderberg Foundation, Vinnova, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and GE Healthcare.
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