It is known that the melanoma tumor contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) that have the ability to kill the cancerous cells. In adoptive cell therapy these lymphocytes, termed “tumor infiltrating lymphocytes” or TILs, are obtained from a surgically extracted tumor biopsy and multiplied in the laboratory under sterile conditions. During the last days of cell preparation, the patient receives chemotherapy for three consecutive days in the day care unit. This preparatory treatment aids establishment of the TILs in the body. Two days later, TILs are infused into the patient with the support of interleukin-2, which helps the cells keep alive and in good condition. During the treatment and after cell infusion, the patient undergoes continuous close follow-up.
Before a patient can be assigned to this protocol, he or she will undergo a series of tests to establish suitability of the treatment.
The time from tumor extraction to TIL infusion is 6-8 weeks. The length of treatment time after TIL infusion will depend on possible side effects. The first evaluation of treatment efficacy will be performed approximately one month after cell infusion.
Adoptive cell therapy is suitable for patients with advanced melanoma who currently have few treatment options.