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Patient's Own Infection-Fighting T Cells Put Late-Stage Melanoma Into Long-Term Remission - Without Chemotherapy or Radiation
Date:6/18/2008

less-toxic cancer treatments than standard chemotherapy and radiation.

The patient in the journal report was one of nine patients with metastatic melanoma who were being treated in a recently completed clinical trial to test dose-escalation of autologous CD4+ T cells. Earlier studies performed by Yee used CD8+ T cells, which do not persist in the body without the support of CD4+ T cells or growth factors such as interleukin 2. Yee and colleagues theorized that infusion of a massive dose of CD4+ T cells would persist longer in the body because they make their own growth factor, interleukin 2, while stimulating the anti-tumor effect of the patient's existing CD8+ T cells. However, until recently there was no feasible way to isolate and expand anti-tumor CD4+ T cells in the lab.

The researchers were successful in all of these areas. The patient received a dose of 5 billion cloned CD4+ T cells with specificity for the melanoma-associated NY-ESO-1 antigen. The cells persisted for at least 80 days in the patient's body. And, even though only 50 percent to 75 percent of the patient's tumor cells expressed the NY-ESO-1 antigen, the entire tumor regressed following the infusion. The scientists postulated that the patient's immune response was broadened to other antigens expressed by the tumor cells. Follow-up tests showed T cell responses to two additional tumor antigens, MAGE-3 and MART-1.

Researchers in Yee's lab, the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York collaborated on the research. The Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Edson Foundation and National Cancer Institute funded the study.

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentl
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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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