Eradicating melanoma – A team led of Fred Hutch researchers reported that a patients' own tumor-fighting cells wiped out out his melanoma without chemotherapy or radiation treatment. If the technique—known as adoptive T-cell therapy—shows promise in a larger set of patients, this therapy could be used for 25 percent of all late-stage melanoma patients. Learn more >
Halting or reducing melanoma tumors – Fred Hutch researchers reported a halt or reduction in growth of melanoma tumors after injecting patients with laboratory-grown copies of different type of T-cell, called CD8+, and a chemical called IL-2 that causes T-cells to replicate.
Attacking cancer cells – A team of researchers has opened the door to new treatment possibilities for melanoma, along with other diseases, such as breast and ovarian cancers. In the laboratory, they have discovered a method for coaxing an important component of the body's immune system to attack cancer cells. Learn more >
Novel immunotherapy for Merkel cell carcinoma – Using research from Hutch colleagues, our immunotherapy experts initiated the world’s first T-cell therapy designed to target a portion of the Merkel cell polyomavirus responsible for the development of Merkel cell carcinoma. Using an advanced cell sorter provided by private support, researchers isolated T-cells that recognized the target oncogenic protein fragment and grew large numbers of them in a lab. Those MCC fighting T cells were infused in a patient in October of 2011 with encouraging results and a clinical trial to treat more patients is now underway.
Activating T-cells – To improve the effectiveness of T-cell immunotherapy, researchers are attempting to lower the threshold of activation of T-cells to enhance their ability to seek out, recognize and kill cancer cells. Dr. Phillip Greenberg and colleagues are addressing this by partnering T-cells with therapeutic antibodies in an active clinical trial enrolling participants with advanced melanoma. Results to date are promising with stabilization/regression of bulky disease.