A new treatment for melanoma shows extraordinary promise, according to a recent medical study.
Latinos Health reports that a study conducted by Dr. Julian Kim, the Chief Medical Officer of the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center (UHSCC) in Cleveland, Ohio, found that T-cells from patients with melanoma can be used against the disease by providing a protective immunity response for the body. The study was published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Immunotherapy.
T-cells are a kind of white blood cell that have the ability to “scan” the intracellular composition of a cell, detecting and destroying those cells that have been infected. T-cells can be used against cancerous cells under certain conditions.
In the study, Dr. Kim and his team of researchers took active t-cells from the lymph nodes of patients with melanoma, cultivated them in a laboratory, and then readministered the T-cells back into the body intravenously.
The T-cells of the lymph nodes were targeted because is there that pathogens are detected in the body. Once the cultivated T-cells re-enter the body, they cause an immune reaction that attacks the cancer cells directly.
The process is known as “adoptive immunotherapy.” Although the therapy has proven successful in a number of cases and studies, it is not commonly used.
A clinical trial involving humans is currently being supported by UHSCC, charitable donations, and by the National Institutes of Health and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The study’s results show great promise not only in treating melanoma, but in treating cancer in general. Dr. Kim is hopeful that adoptive immunotherapy will be used more often. In the meantime, he and his team intend on conducting other studies in which they will combine T-cells with other kinds of immune therapies.
It is estimated that 20% of Americans will develop some kind of skin cancer in their lifetimes.