A new approach to cancer treatment that replaces a patient’s immune system with cancer-fighting cells can lead to tumor shrinkage, researchers report today in the journal Science*. The study demonstrates that immune cells, activated in the laboratory against patients’ tumors and then administered to those patients, can attack cancer cells in the body.
The experimental technique, known as adoptive transfer, has shown promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not responded to standard treatment. With further research, scientists hope this approach may have applications to many cancer types, as well as infectious diseases such as AIDS.
In the study, 13 patients with metastatic melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer) who had not responded to standard treatments were treated with immune cells produced in the laboratory specifically to destroy their tumors. The treatment resulted in at least 50 percent tumor shrinkage in six of the patients, with no growth or appearance of new tumors. Four additional patients had some cancer growths disappear.
NCI Press Office | EurekAlert!
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