Immunotherapies for Melanoma
The Comprehensive Cancer Center has a robust tumor immunotherapy program focused on treating patients with melanoma. We are studying cell transfer techniques and the use of two different types of medicine: Yervoy™ and Interleukin-2.
Different Types of Immunotherapies for Melanoma
There are several different biologic approaches to immunotherapy, and all involve trying to strengthen and sharpen a patient’s own immune system.
- Cell transfer techniques are an exciting treatment method for melanoma. In this procedure, your doctors will remove your own disease fighting cells—the ones that are responsible for identifying and fighting disease. They will grow the cells and then place them back inside your body. This biologic approach to immunotherapy strengthens the body’s own immunoresponse. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist are actively investigating novel approaches to cell transfer techniques for the treatment of melanoma.
- Vaccines: The program is currently investigating the effectiveness of vaccines to increase the overall length of survival in patients with advanced (Stage III or IV) melanoma who have had their tumors surgically removed. This is an important study because outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma have been poor. If tumor immunotherapy can improve the survival rates and quality of life for persons suffering from this devastating cancer, we will have made a significant contribution to the advancement of cancer treatment.
- Immunomodulation Therapies: our Center has been designated as a high-volume center for the administration of high-dose interleukin-2 for the treatment of metastatic, malignant melanoma, as well as a promising new infusion treatment, known as Yervoy, which has been shown to increase 5-year survival rates to 21%, versus 5% without Yervoy.