One-Two Punch to Knock Out Melanoma


Immunotherapy Was Effective for Some Melanoma Patients, But Not for Others.

Drugs that help the immune system recognize and attack tumor cells have been a game-changer for some patients with melanoma. But for those with a rare and aggressive form of the disease, immunotherapy is not effective. To get around this obstacle, MSK researchers invented a new way to boost the tumor’s microenvironment so that the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab can work.


Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians Charlotte and Jedd at Parker Institute for cancer immunotherapy
Charlotte Ariyan with Jedd D. Wolchok, Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK


New Chemotherapy Technique Helps Immunotherapy Wipe Out Cancer.

Using a special technique called “limb infusion,” the team first injects chemotherapy into the patient’s affected arm or leg, and then follows it with a dose of immunotherapy. Led by surgeon-scientist Charlotte Ariyan, MSK ran the world’s first-ever clinical trial to explore this new approach. After three months, tumors had shrunk in 85% of patients—and completely disappeared in more than half. One year after treatment, almost two-thirds of these men and women remain disease-free, even after they stopped receiving immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy has had great successes, but we’re looking for ways to make it effective for more people. Our work in the lab is focused on developing better treatments, which we can then bring to patients as part of clinical trials.”

 Charlotte Ariyan,

  MSK Surgical Oncologist

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