The more times metastasised melanoma has mutated and the patient’s immune system has been activated against a tumour — the better the chances of survival after immunotherapy. This is what emerges from a research collaboration between Lund University in Sweden and Herlev university hospital in Denmark. The findings are now published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
In simple terms, the treatment entails first removing the patient’s own T cells from a tumour. T cells are the part of the immune system that recognises tumour cells. The patient’s cells are then cultured in the lab and subsequently injected back into the patient.
“The aim is for them to seek out and fight a tumour and the circulating tumour cells,” explains Göran Jönsson, a researcher at Lund University. He is collaborating with Herlev university hospital in Copenhagen, which is one of few hospitals in Europe currently conducting clinical trials of this form of immunotherapy.
Although the treatment outcomes are promising, only just below half of the patients respond to this immunotherapy.
“Between 10 and 20 percent of those affected by advanced melanoma can be cured with a single treatment of adoptive T cell therapy. On the other hand, the treatment is very intensive and has many side effects. It is therefore important to be able to predict which patients stand to benefit from the treatment so that we give it to the right ones,” say, Inge Marie Svane and Marco Donia, physicians at Herlev university hospital and researchers at the University of Copenhagen.
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Parathyroid cancers (PTC) are very rare and have a poor prognosis. A 48 year old case with locally invasive PTC that was positive for close surgical removal margin was treated with chemo radiotherapy after surgery. Even though this required bimodal chemo and radio adjuvant therapy, the patient was treated by chemo radiotherapy with some modifications, including oral administration of capestabine. These treatments were well tolerated with minimal side effects, which have proven to be very effective in freeing the patient from the invasive tumor for the following twenty six months of monitoring. This treatment method could be adopted in place of the widely preferred surgical therapy. We believe that this case report will guide future studies concerning with similar cases.
Researchers at the University of Iowa did just that, documenting in real time and in 3-D how melanoma cells form tumors. The cells waste no time finding their cancerous cousins, slashing their way through a lab-prepared gel to quickly join other melanoma cells and form tumors.
Biology professor David Soll and his team used unique computer-assisted 3-D reconstruction software to chronicle how both breast tissue cancer cells and melanoma cells form tumors. The group found the two cancers act similarly in the joining stages of tumor formation. With that knowledge, they screened more than four dozen monoclonal antibodies — unique agents that can stop cells from growing or forming tumors and can be mass produced — before finding two that block tumor creation in both types of cancer.
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