One of the most promising areas of clinical research in melanoma involves the administration of treatments directly into tumors. The types of medications that are given that way vary, but that route enables physicians to not only deliver higher doses specifically to the tumor while sparing the rest of the body, it enables the use of targets within the tumors themselves. An example of this approach is intra-tumoral immunotherapy.
In intra-tumoral immunotherapy, agents that stimulate or help an immune response are placed directly within tumors. The goal of those responses is not only to kill the tumors into which they are injected, but also to generate a more far-reaching immune response, much like vaccination. Some of the therapies that have been investigated include what are called oncolytic viruses, which are viruses that have been modified to be able to grow preferentially in cancer cells. Others include gene therapies or more well established vaccine adjuvants.
We have previously reported some of these results (Kidner et al, J Immunother) and have other ongoing clinical trials in this area. For more information, please contact our clinical trials group at 310- 582-7456.