Nav: Home

Research providing promising new treatments for melanoma

December 06, 2016

New Orleans, LA - In a paper published online November 30, 2016, in Melanoma Management, Adam Riker, MD, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Surgical Oncology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, reviews approaches to manage melanoma, including one tested at LSU Health New Orleans that provoked a complete response in a patient with a long history of the disease.

The editorial provides an overview, including progress made over the last few decades in treating this potentially fatal skin cancer. More recent studies have shown the promise of vaccines and immunotherapy. Combinatorial immunotherapy represents the newest advance. Riker and colleagues recently reported results of a novel combinatorial immunotherapy Phase II clinical trial at LSU Health New Orleans. Twenty-five patients were given a combination of an interferon and a melanoma vaccine genetically altered to trigger a potent immune response. The researchers found that the approach clearly activated the immune system in a select few, including the astounding complete response in a patient who had melanoma for eight years at the time of the study.

"I saw this happy patient back in my office just a few months ago, still without evidence of disease," Riker reports.

Riker and co-author Erika Bisgaard, now an MD and an alumna of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, also discuss a first-of-its-kind therapy for inoperable melanoma in the skin and lymph nodes. The FDA recently approved talimogene laherparepvec (IMLYGIC®, T-VEC). It uses herpes simplex virus-type 1 designed to selectively replicate within tumors and produce GM-CSF, a white blood cell growth factor that enhances systemic anti-tumor immune responses. This combination has shown a complete response rate of 10.8%. Ongoing trials are studying its possible use in melanomas that are operable as well.

"We still have much work ahead in our continuing efforts to identify effective treatment options that will stimulate and activate the immune system to destroy melanoma wherever it may grow," notes Riker. "Current research is very promising, though," he adds. "We have entered a truly exciting era in our ability to successfully treat patients with melanoma."

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer in which cancer cells form in melanocytes (cells that make melanin, a pigment giving skin its color). Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin. It is more likely than other skin cancers to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body, and the number of new cases has been increasing over the past 40 years. The death rate varies by age - fewer people younger than 50 have been dying from melanoma since the mid-1980s, with the death rate on the rise in people age 50 and older.
-end-
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's most comprehensive health sciences university, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO or http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Related Immune System Articles:

Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis
Filming how our immune system kill bacteria
To kill bacteria in the blood, our immune system relies on nanomachines that can open deadly holes in their targets.
Putting the break on our immune system's response
Researchers have discovered how a tiny molecule known as miR-132 acts as a 'handbrake' on our immune system -- helping us fight infection.
Decoding the human immune system
For the first time ever, researchers are comprehensively sequencing the human immune system, which is billions of times larger than the human genome.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...