“My immune system was awakened and it knew exactly where to go.”
After prior therapies proved ineffective for her malignant melanoma, Janie Ferling enrolled in a clinical trial led by Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., and received a combination of two distinct immunotherapies that had already been approved individually.
In addition to an anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor Janie received T-VEC, a re-engineered herpes virus designed to do three things: infect tumor cells, make them burst, and attract the attention of the immune system. T-VEC-infected cells, like GVAX tumor cells, possess the "recipe" for GM-CSF, a protein that can boost immune cell production and activity. (David M. Reese, M.D., was instrumental in the development of T-VEC.)
After many months of treatment, Janie’s tumors shrank significantly and, although they aren't all completely gone, appear to be stable. Even so, it hasn’t stopped her from “traveling the world and making more memories with her son.”
Image credit: Cancer Research Institute