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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 surgically removed.
  • 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.

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Last Updated: 06-03-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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