Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center have discovered a way to essentially reverse the immune suppression of lymph nodes involved in the spread of melanoma. Dr. Alistair Cochran says they achieved this by basically stimulating the immune response of the sentinel lymph node – the node most susceptible to the early spread of melanoma.
Cochran: We became interested in the possibility that the tumor cells were capable of producing molecules which were biologically active and which could reduce the competence of the lymph node to defend itself.
Narrator: The researchers found this to be the case and were able to inject patients with a compound that stimulates the immune response in the node.
Cochran: So, one can envisage a situation in which a patient who had a very small tumor burden in the sentinel lymph nodes, given these bioactive molecules before the sentinel node biopsy, could in fact experience a regression or a destruction of these early stages of the metastatic process.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.