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New approach identifies cancer mutations as targets of effective melanoma immunotherapy
Date:6/30/2014

PHILADELPHIA A new approach demonstrated that the recognition of unique cancer mutations appeared to be responsible for complete cancer regressions in two metastatic melanoma patients treated with a type of immunotherapy called adoptive T-cell therapy. This new approach may help develop more effective cancer immunotherapies, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"This study provides the technical solution to identify mutated tumor targets that can stimulate immune responses, which is one of the major bottlenecks in developing a new generation of adoptive T-cell therapy," said Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. "The two targets identified in this study play important roles in cancer cell proliferation.

"Immunotherapy has the potential to successfully treat cancer by targeting tumor mutations. We've moved one step closer because of this study," Rosenberg added.

Adoptive T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy in which the immune cells infiltrating a patient's tumor, so called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs, which are T cells), are harvested, activated and expanded in the laboratory, and transferred back to the patient. Such activated cells are capable of efficiently attacking tumor cells.

"In a clinical trial, up to 72 percent of the patients with metastatic melanoma experienced tumor regression after adoptive T-cell transfer. However, not all patients benefited. This is because the specificity of the TILs remains largely unclear. Our goal was to establish an efficient method to identify the specificity of these cells," explained Rosenberg.

The researchers took tumor samples from two patients who had benefited from the therapy and pursued two screening approaches to identify the tumor targets recognized by the clinically effective T cells. First, the
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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