New hope for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma.

A small study presented at the 2017 World Congress of Melanoma shows that a new immunotherapy can slow the progress of metastatic melanoma.

The researchers used tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) extracted from patients’ tumors, The cells are then genetically altered and rapidly grown in the lab, before being infused back into the patient.

There was evidence of some benefit from this new therapy in six of the seven patients with metastatic melanoma who had all previously received other cancer treatments.

The duration of response was not consistent across all patients who showed signs of stable disease. Overall, two patients showed signs of a persistent response, lasting longer than six months. For one of these patients, a consistent drop in tumor burden, which was close to 90 percent, was seen out to 17 months.

It seems that the future of cancer treatment lies in immune therapy. If your own body can attack the cancer that may give the most complete and long lasting cure of all.

Although only a small, none blinded study this recent publication seems to confirm the theory that oral beta blockers, usually used to treat high blood pressure, may decrease the risk of melanoma recurrence after surgical treatment. While large controlled double blinded studies will be needed to confirm these results, this very exciting news. Propanalol, the drug used in this study, is a cheap relatively safe medication that many people have taken for many years with any problems in the vast majority of cases. I wonder what other every day medications might have as yet unrecognized benefit in our fight against cancer.