Wake Forest is a leader in treating certain types of cancer using vaccines and medications, which use the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Called immunotherapy, doctors prime the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy targets only the cancer cells. Chemotherapy, which attacks both cancer cells and healthy cells, can have greater side effects.
Clinical immunotherapy is administered through the melanoma program and is led by John H. Stewart IV, MD, one of our surgical oncologists, who received specialized training in immunotherapy at the National Cancer Institute.
Advanced Clinical Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
The clinical immunotherapy program at Wake Forest participates in clinical trials. Currently, patients with metastatic melanoma and kidney (renal cell) cancers are being treated with immunotherapy, which includes the use of vaccines, interferon and Interleukin-2 and ipilimumab.
Interleukin-2 modifies the body’s immune system: it stimulates the body to produce more T-cells, which are white blood cells that fight disease. We also now offer other targeted therapies for melanoma.
Investigators at Wake Forest Baptist are involved in clinical trials that are evaluating novel immunomodulators including ipilimumab and anti-cancer vaccines. Additional work is focused on viruses that treat a variety of cancers.