Narrator: This is Science Today. A new immunotherapy treatment developed at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center dramatically increased life expectancy for some kidney cancer patients who would traditionally have about eight months to live. Dr. Robert Figlin says their approach stimulates a patient's immune system by manipulating their dendritic cells.
Figlin: Dendritic cells are what are called antigen presenting cells. They are cells that exist within our body that basically interact with the immune system to prevent us from developing disease.
Narrator: A patient's dendritic cells are loaded up with lysate, a product of their own an tumor. These cells are then given back to the patient.
Figlin: You can then vaccinate kidney cancer patients with a tumor lysate loaded dendritic cell. What's remarkable about this is it doesn't require the use of interleukin-2, it's just using the patient's own immune system.
Narrator: About half the treated patients were alive after two years - some, cancer-free after seven.
Figlin: I really think that kidney cancer is a curable disease and it will ultimately be cured with immunotherapy.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.