New Method of Gene Therapy for Treating Advanced Melanoma
Scientists at the National Cancer Institute have found a way to enlist a cancer patient's own white blood cells, also called "lymphocytes" to battle melanoma.
Schmalfeldt: Although it only accounts for about four percent of all skin cancer cases, melanoma is the most serious and aggressive form of skin cancer. Now, thanks to research at the National Institutes of Health, scientists have found a way to enlist a cancer patient's own white blood cells, also called "lymphocytes" to battle this deadly disease. According to lead researcher, Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, scientists at the National Cancer Institute have found a way to genetically engineer white blood cells to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Rosenberg: We can now genetically modify that normal lymphocyte and put into it what we call "receptors" that now enable that normal lymphocyte to recognize a cancer. And so basically we take a normal cell and, by genetic engineering, modify it so that it can go from being normal — unable to recognize a cancer — into a cell that can recognize a cancer.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Rosenberg said that since researchers have proved this strategy can be successful, they're testing several methods to improve its effectiveness. The results of the study were published in the August 31 edition of the journal Science. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg