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Immune System Therapy Helps Skin Cancer Patients (Reuters) ... to boost the immune system of melanoma patients after they have had surgery to remove skin tumors.......The treatment is based on cells called tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILS) that produce a reaction against the cancer....... spread rapidly throughout the body, forming secondary tumors in the liver, lungs, bones and brain.... - Oct 22 10:24 AM ET


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Website: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011022/hl/immune_1.html

Posted on: 10/22/2001

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Health - Reuters - updated 10:28 AM ET Oct 22
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Monday October 22 10:24 AM ET "Immune System Therapy Helps Skin Cancer Patients"

Immune System Therapy Helps Skin Cancer Patients

LISBON (Reuters) - A new form of immune system therapy can help prolong the lives of people suffering from the most serious type of skin cancer, French scientists said on Monday.

Professor Brigitte Dreno and a team of researchers from the INSERM U 463 laboratories in Nantes have developed a treatment to boost the immune system of melanoma patients after they have had surgery to remove skin tumors.

Dreno told a European cancer conference that the technique had cut the number of relapses and increased the survival of patients who were given the treatment in early trials.

The treatment is based on cells called tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILS) that produce a reaction against the cancer.

Results showed TILs injected as treatment in addition to surgery could reduce the frequency of relapses and increase survival of patients with only one cancerous lymph node, Dreno told the ECCO 11 cancer conference.

Lymph nodes are small masses of tissue in the lymphatic system of the body. When cancer spreads from its original site to a lymph node it is an indication of the seriousness of the disease and the likelihood of it spreading to other sites in the body.

TILs are taken from a lymph node removed for a biopsy, then grown in the laboratory for several weeks to increase their potency. Finally they are injected back into the patient following surgery to improve their immune system.

The TILs produce tumor specific reactive T cells that stimulate the production of gamma interferon, a key immune system protein.

A comparative study of skin cancer patients given both TILs and interleukin2, a naturally occurring immune system protein, or just interleukin2 showed the combination was more effective if only one lymph node was cancerous.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and the most common cause of death by cancer among those aged 25 to 29. It accounts for roughly 10% of reported cases of skin cancer and can spread rapidly throughout the body, forming secondary tumors in the liver, lungs, bones and brain.

Doctors advise people to protect themselves from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation and prevent skin cancer by using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

People should consult a doctor if they discover any new moles on the skin or changes in the size, shape or color of existing moles, or any oozing, crusting or bleeding.

Up to 8,000 doctors, scientists and researchers are attending the Lisbon meeting, which ends Thursday.

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