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Amod Sarnaik, MD, on New Frontiers in Cell Therapy for Advanced Melanoma

Sarnaik discussed several potential areas of innovation on the horizon.

“Cellular therapy for metastatic melanoma has been a relatively niche field until recently. This reminds me of the implementation of solid organ transplant. At the onset of this type of complex therapy, the therapy was initially implemented at select centers of excellence. But as the therapy gets developed more and practitioners learn more about this exciting technology, I think the technology will be moved to more and more centers in the future. However, this will require some institutional investment in infrastructure...”

Cell therapy is an emerging area of interest for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma. Iovance Biotherapeutics’ lifileucel (LN-144), an investigational autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy, is currently being investigated as a potential new treatment option for these patients.

Amod A. Sarnaik, MD, FACS, Moffitt Cancer Center and University of South Florida, recently presented data from the phase 2 C-144-01 (NCT02360579) clinical trial evaluating lifileucel at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 37th Annual Meeting, November 8-12, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts.

In an interview with CGTLive, Sarnaik discussed several areas of interest in cell therapy research on the horizon for advanced melanoma. He specifically mentioned investigations into CRISPR/Cas9 genetic manipulation of cellular products, which is already underway. Sarnaik also spoke about biomarker development as an area of unmet need for advanced melanoma patients that could be addressed with the help of patient-derived materials obtained during treatment with lifileucel or other cell therapies. He also briefly discussed combination therapy, another area of ongoing research.