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Novel immune system-based gene therapy induces strong responses in metastatic melanoma, sarcoma
Date:1/31/2011

Researchers have found that a novel form of personalized therapy that genetically engineers a patient's own anti-tumor immune cells to fight tumors could treat metastatic melanoma and metastatic synovial cell sarcoma, representing a potentially new therapeutic approach against these and other cancers.

The technique, called adoptive immunotherapy, works with the body's immune system to fight cancer. Immune cells, called T lymphocytes, are removed, modified, expanded in large numbers, and given back to the patient. In this case, the process entailed genetically engineering T cell lymphocytes to express receptors directed against a specific antigen on the cancer cell.

"We believe that this approach of adoptive immunotherapy is the most effective means for using the body's immune system to combat cancer," said senior study author Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, chief of the surgery branch at the National Cancer Institute. "This paper represents the first time that adoptive immunotherapy using genetically modified cells has been successfully used to treat a solid cancer other than melanoma because we are targeting an antigen present on many types of cancer."

The treatment resulted in response rates of 45 percent and 67 percent in malignant melanoma and synovial cell sarcoma patients, respectively.

In earlier trials, Rosenberg and colleagues used adoptive immunotherapy on treatment-resistant patients with metastatic melanoma who had extensive prior therapy. Of 93 patients studied, they found that more than half had measurable responses, including 20 with complete disappearance of all melanoma metastases.

In the current study, 17 patients with treatment-resistant metastatic melanoma or metastatic synovial cell sarcoma received therapy with their own immune T cells. The cells were genetically engineered to express a T cell receptor that recognized the NY-ESO-1 cancer-testes antigen on cancer cells. NY-ESO-1 is expressed in on
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Contact: Kelly Powell
kelly.powell@asco.org
571-483-1365
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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