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New Hope to Beat Cancer
Date:3/12/2009

Aurora St. Luke's is one of a few institutions in the world to offer skin cancer clinical trial.

MILWAUKEE, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is one of the first institutions in the world to offer a new skin cancer research study that trains the patient's immune system to kill cancer cells.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090303/CG78204LOGO-b)

The Young Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte (Y-TIL) trial is a phase 2 clinical trial being offered with technical support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md. Milwaukee native Jeff Capstran participated in an earlier stage of this trial at NCI. Capstran had stage-four metastatic melanoma, a diagnosis that few survive, but with small kids at home he was determined to find treatment options.

"I knew that my illness was very serious, but there had to be new opportunities to fight back," Capstran says. "When I found out about the study at NCI, I knew I had to jump at the chance. Today, I am cancer free."

The early results from a similar trial at the NCI are exciting for patients with stage-four metastatic melanoma. Published reports for the trial show a 51 percent response rate.

To qualify, all patients must be diagnosed with stage-four metastatic melanoma. During the trial blood is drawn from the patient, along with a sample of the tumor. The T cells, which are the immune system's killer cells, are extracted from the tumor and re-educated to attack the cancer cells. The patient's normal immune system is then temporarily suppressed using chemotherapy, and the newly trained T cells are returned to the patient. The T cells are expected to survive, replicate and kill the cancer.

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SOURCE Aurora Health Care
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