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.
- Immune Modulators: The immune system uses “checkpoints” that can
turn off an immune response. Newer antibody drugs that target these
checkpoints, such as ipilimumab (Yervoy), pembrolizumab (Keytruda), and
nivolumab (Opdivo), have been shown
to improve survival in patients with melanoma. Other drugs, known as
cytokines, including interferon and interleukin-2, can be used to
stimulate the immune response. Clinical trials are in progress at Wake Forest Baptist to test combinations of immunomodulating
therapies as well as new approaches.
- Vaccines: Several vaccines against melanoma are
under investigation. Vaccines are being tested in clinical trials at Wake
Forest Baptist to prevent recurrence of melanoma after it has been
- Cell transfer techniques: In this procedure, your doctors will
remove your own immune cells. They will activate these cells in the
laboratory and then place them back inside your body. This biologic
approach to immunotherapy strengthens the body’s own immune response.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist are actively investigating novel
approaches to cell transfer techniques for the treatment of melanoma.