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NCI Researchers Confirm the Effectiveness of Immunotherapy Approach to Treating Melanoma

acity. They also received a high dose of Interleukin-2 (IL-2), a protein made by the body that makes the tumor-fighting cells mature and multiply.

Of the 35 patients in this study, 18 (51 percent) experienced an improvement in the amount of tumor present at diverse sites in the body: lung, liver, lymph nodes, brain and skin. Eight other patients demonstrated a mixed or minor response. Of the 18 patients showing improvement, 15 had a partial response that lasted from two months to more than two years. It is noteworthy that there were three (9 percent) patients who continued to experience complete disappearance of tumors. This result is particularly significant because these patients had not responded to standard treatments or chemotherapies used in treating patients with melanoma.

Thirteen patients relapsed after positive response to therapy and developed tumors at pre-existing or new sites within the body. There were no treatment-related deaths in this study. The loss of white blood cells, which fight infections, led to the development of infections in seven patients. Toxicities related to the chemotherapy and administration of a high dose of IL-2 were easily managed.

The results of this study prove that a combination of chemotherapy and infusion of autologous, stimulated, white blood cells can have an impact on metastatic melanoma tumors in patients who do not respond to other therapies. "The results of this study are encouraging, and suggest that some patients with melanoma who do not respond to conventional treatments may get a durable benefit from treatments based on using their own immune cells" said Mark Dudley, Ph.D., coauthor of the study.
For more information about cancer, visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4 CANCER (1-800-422-6237).


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Source:NIH


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