Immune cell replacement shrinks tumors

February 20, 2005

A new approach, cell transfer immunotherapy, can cause regressions in more than half of patients with metastatic melanoma refractory to all other treatments.

A new approach, cell transfer immunotherapy, can cause regressions in more than half of patients with metastatic melanoma refractory to all other treatments.

"We identify cells within the melanoma patient that are capable of reacting against their own cancer, grow them to large amounts ex vivo, then eliminate the patient's own immune system and replace it with these antitumor cells," says Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., National Cancer Institute.

In the first study of the treatment, six of the 13 patients achieved at least 50 percent tumor shrinkage, with no growth or appearance of new tumors. In four additional patients, the treatment achieved significant shrinkage of one or more metastatic deposits.