Zapping Melanomas Stimulates Uptake of Immune System Booster

Early results of a phase II clinical trial are encouraging for a new immunotherapy against melanomas. The first step is injecting the melanoma with engineered DNA that contains the gene for interleuken-12, a protein that stimulates the immune system. The next step, called electroporation, is to shock the tumor with 1,300 volts. This opens pores the melanoma cells, letting them take up the engineered DNA. The tumor then produces the immune system booster interleuken-12. In one arm of this multi-center trial, tumors have shrunk in eight of the nine people treated. And tumors often also shrank in parts of the body that weren’t directly treated. This trial is accepting new participants.