Trial offers hope for patients with late-stage melanoma

ORLANDO, Fla. – An ongoing clinical trial may be the foundation for a breakthrough in the treatment of late-stage melanoma, commonly considered a fatal disease.

Doctors at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute are using patients’ own tumor cells, or T-Cells, to treat the disease.

The cells are removed and engineered to be active against the cancer, then given back to the patient in a single infusion.

“You’re taking those T-cells and expanding it to basically a clone army and the number of cells we can produce is anywhere from 1 billion to 150 billion,” said oncologist-hematologist Dr. Sajeve Thomas.

So far, clinical trials have found that the tumors either shrank or remained stable in 4 out of 5 patients, with many seeing improvement in just a few weeks.

Researchers hope to expand this therapy for use in other cancers including lung, cervical, and head and neck cancers.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.