Research in Melanoma Medical Oncology
Our top notch team of researchers is investigating agents to stimulate the immune response against cancer, inhibit the production of blood vessels feeding the tumor and block specific pathways that are driving the growth of melanoma cells. We have a number of novel clinical trials available to patients aimed at translation of laboratory principles to the clinic.
In order to activate immune responses, we are studying cancer vaccines and interleukin-2 based regimens designed to activate the body’s T-lymphocytes. We have also developed methods to expand a patient’s tumor reactive lymphocytes in the laboratory to very large numbers and are conducting trials to treat the patients with the reinfusion of these lymphocytes. We are also treating patients with an antibody, anti CTLA-4, that can stimulate the immune system by releasing the natural “braking” system on lymphocytes.
To inhibit blood vessel formation, we are targeting molecules that are specifically expressed on tumor vasculature including avb1 and a5b1 integrins. We are utilizing a number of agents to target specific molecular pathways in the tumor, including inhibitors of B-RAF and PDGF receptors.
Our department has also pioneered the use of biochemotherapy regimens for melanoma, and we are now initiating studies of the next generation of biochemotherapy combinations. We take a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of melanoma patients and have close collaborative relationships with surgeons, dermatologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists in our clinic.