New Dissertation on the Treatment of Malignant Melanoma

Source: Medical Xpress, December 2017

Malignant melanoma is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths among young adults. Although treatment for melanoma has improved in recent years, most patients do not benefit from the treatment, which also often causes side effects. In a new dissertation from Uppsala University, Aglaia Schiza has examined new ways of treating the disease.
If malignant melanoma has spread, the prognosis is not good. That is why it is imperative to develop better treatment strategies. One new treatment strategy for cancer is to use the body’s own immune system. Melanoma is considered a promising form of cancer for immunostimulatory gene therapy, which means that the immune system is activated to kill the cancer. CD40L is an immunostimulatory molecule that can, with the help of the virus, be introduced into the tumour, where it can stimulate the immune defences against the cancer cells.
Aglaia Schiza and her colleagues conducted a study in which patients with disseminated melanoma who had received established treatment were treated with injections in metastases of a virus-carrying gene for CD40L (AdCD40L). The goal was for the immunostimulatory molecule to not only work locally, but to also have a vaccinating effect and thereby affect metastases in the rest of the body. The majority of the patients also received low-dose cyclophosphamide along with the injections. In this low dose, the cytotoxic agent has no effect on the cancer, but can strengthen the effect of immunological treatment.
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