Yale researchers studied patients with metastatic melanoma, looking for immune cells that recirculate between blood and tumor. They were able to identify T cells in blood with sister cells in the tumor. This is exciting news as T cells are involved in the fight against tumors.
While these findings are early, they could have a huge impact on the future of advanced melanoma treatment.
Through blood tests, these T cells could be monitored to determine how the patient’s immune system is dealing with the tumor. These tests could replace frequent biopsies to check treatment progress.
These T cells also have the potential to be a part of the treatment process. Cells could be harnessed, boosted, and reinjected into the patient to fight the cancer. Currently, this sort of treatment requires removing the tumor, limiting its use to those with operable tumors.
As mentioned, these findings are very early. Additional research on the circulating T cells is needed. The way those T cells are isolated also needs work for it to be a practical part of melanoma treatment.
Still a long way to go, but things are look promising.