Lymphoma, Melanoma

Scientists say they have figured out a way to strengthen a vaccine given to people with low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System in New York say they have added a “novel component” to the vaccine being used in clinical trials at their facility. The more potent vaccine brings essential immune cells called dendritic cells to the patient’s tumor to help fight the cancer before doctors administer a TLR9 agonist.

In preliminary results from the trial, patients have achieved partial or complete clinical remissions, the researchers say. These included people in advanced stages of the disease.

“This is the first vaccine that is administered directly into the tumor or in situ. We are training the immune system to fight cancer and the results we are seeing are very exciting. We hope to continue to see long-term remission in our patients,” said Dr. Joshua Brody, director of the Lymphona Immunotherapy Program and an assistant professor of medicine, hematology, and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The findings were presented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

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Two-Drug Combination to Fight Melanoma

A different one-two immunotherapy punch showed promise against advanced melanoma. Advanced melanoma is one of the most lethal types of cancer.

Two medications working together allowed patients to survive for a median of 11 months without their cancer progressing, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The researchers gave 945 cancer patients nivolumab and ipilimumab. Both drugs unleash the body’s immune system, but they do it with different mechanisms.

Almost 60 percent of study participants saw their tumors shrink in size.

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