I just read an article about “cancer” vaccines (link below-sorry if this has already been posted). The article does specifically mention melanoma at one point.
Here is a quote:
[Dr] Keler said the treatment could potentially be used with other medications that enlist the immune system to fight cancer, but only in patients whose tumors have a specific kind of protein. “It’s present in about 30 percent of melanoma cases and in a smaller percentage of various other cancer types,” Keler said. But the treatment could be expanded to treat other kinds of cancer, he said.
I participated in a Phase 1 dendritic cell vaccine at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC in 2013 as I am currently a Stage 3C doing “watch & wait” after a neck dissection w/removal of 68 lymph nodes (1 positive) and 2 small in-transits next to the lymph node. As far as how it was explained to me, the proteins are specific to melanoma and are usually suppressed so the body’s immune system does not recognize melanoma as “bad”. The proteins allow the dendritic cells to be programmed to recognize melanoma as an invader and attack and destroy it. The research doctors at Sloan were very excited and encouraging since the previous trial (which did not have the melanoma-specific proteins) showed encouraging results. This proteins make the dendritic cells specifically target melanoma and are targeted to each individual since they are grown from your own stem cells.
I am optimistic and will be approaching 1 year NED on 5/10/14. Even if I do get another recurrence, the trial has also shown a “vigorous” response to immuno-therapies (ipi, PD-1, etc) inpatients who had previous dendritic cell vaccines. Let’s all hope they are on to something here!