Emma Yasinsky in The Scientist:
This past April, Mount Sinai oncologist Joshua Brody and his team announced a clinical trial that delivers immune modulators directly to the tumor environment that stimulate a patient’s immune system to treat several types of cancer. The approach is called in situ vaccination, and it can take many forms such as a virus or targeted radiation. What they all have in common is that they are delivered directly into a tumor to help the immune system recognize and attack the malignancy and then, ideally, other cancer cells that have metastasized throughout the body.
Along with the clinical trial announcement, Brody and his team published preliminary data showing that 8 out of 11 patients with lymphoma saw their treated tumors shrink, and in three patients even distant, untreated tumors dwindled in response to the in situ vaccine. Brody says that although he knew the treatment was “supposed to work” based on his preclinical work, after administering it to the first few people in the study, he was “surprised how profound the tumor regressions were . . . and how long lasting some of them have been.” One patient had a complete response lasting more than four years and a patient with a partial response is still in ongoing remission six months after treatment. Brody adds that since the data were published, another patient has been treated and is also in continued remission six months later.