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Researchers test new therapy for advanced melanoma

that stimulates the immune system, directly into the tumor site in mice. Then, they applied electroporation to the site to help the plasmid move into the tumor cells. The tumor cells used the plasmid's genetic instructions to make proteins. These proteins signaled the immune system to recognize the melanoma tumors as abnormal and attack.

Eighty percent of the mice were cured with this therapy -- their tumors disappeared and the treated animals remained disease free for the full length of the study (100 days), Dr. Heller said.

Furthermore, he said, even when melanoma cells were reinjected into the cured mice the tumors were rejected. This indicates the immune system formed a memory response that recognized the melanoma cells as foreign and prevented tumor regrowth.

"We were very encouraged by the results of the preclinical studies." Dr. Heller said. "We're hoping this translates into a beneficial treatment for patients."

The Phase 1 clinical trial by Moffitt and Genetronics Biomedical Corp is evaluating the safety of the electroporation technology in treating patients with advanced melanoma. The trial expects to enroll 18 to 25 patients.


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Source:University of South Florida Health Sciences Center


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