This health video looks into different ways of fighting skin melanoma.
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Jennifer Matthews: Each year, nearly 10,000 Americans will die from the deadly skin cancer, melanoma. Dr. Steven Rosenberg: Melanoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the United States. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Steven Rosenberg may not be able to slow the growing number of cases, but he is hoping to slow the number of people who die from the disease. Dr. Steven Rosenberg: Virtually no treatments are capable of curing it and that's where the new treatments that we've developed can have some effectiveness. Jennifer Matthews: That new treatment is changing the future of some skin cancer patients. Doctors remove immune cells from a patient's tumor. The cells that can recognize the cancer the best are then grown in the lab. Dr. Steven Rosenberg: And then we give those cells back to the patient in very large numbers where they can fight and destroy the cancer." Jennifer Matthews: The technique is called adoptive transfer. The cancer-fighting cells can survive and actually grow inside the body. In an early study, nearly half of the 13 patients - who had failed all other treatments - showed cancer regression. In 4patients, the tumors disappeared. Dr. Steven Rosenberg: A young 17-year-old boy - who had melanoma throughout his body - he was the first patient to receive this new treatment two and a half years ago and he's still completely disease-free and living normally. Jennifer Matthews: 31-year-old Michael Barbato was diagnosed in 1999. No therapy has helped. Today, he'll undergo this experimental treatment. Michael Barbato: It's been such a long journey with this cancer, and I'm excited to get the chance. This is a great opportunity of life. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.