Immunotherapy trial gives melanoma patient a chance for recovery without surgery

Source: MUSD, May 2022

One of the most gratifying parts of the job for oncologist John Kaczmar, M.D., is being able to offer skin cancer patients the newest treatments that can potentially cure their cancer without requiring surgery, radiation or chemotherapies with disabling side effects.

That’s what happened with Tim Buikema. A clinical trial of two immunotherapy drugs in combination helped his body’s own immune system to take down a melanoma, to the point that PET scans now show no signs of cancer.

Although a similar agent, developed by a different company, received regulatory approval earlier this year to treat advanced melanoma, neither of these medications was publicly available at the time that Buikema needed help.