Melanoma Research

December 02, 2016

Providence physicians and scientists have been leading the way in melanoma research and treatment for more than 20 years. Our findings have resulted in new ways to boost immune response, which has improved the standard of care for patients with this aggressive malignancy. 

The first study of an immunotherapy to show a survival benefit in advanced melanoma was led by Walter Urba, M.D., Ph.D., director of Cancer Research at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Center. That study resulted in the FDA approval of ipilimumab (Yervoy), which remains a cornerstone of modern immunotherapy.

Providence Cancer Center scientists and clinician researchers have made many other contributions to melanoma basic science and patient care:

  • We have been one of the busiest high-dose Interleukin-2 centers in the country for 15 years and have been innovators in using IL-2 in conjunction with high-dose per fraction radiation. 
  • Providence Cancer Center is one of the few melanoma centers offering tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy, which is given with IL-2. 
  • Recently, the FDA approved PD-1/PD-L1 blocking antibodies pembrolizumab and nivolumab for patients with metastatic melanoma under the brand names Keytruda and Opdivo. Both immunotherapies, which Providence Cancer Center tested in clinical trials, offer improved response and survival benefit as second- or third-line therapies. 

While we’ve made great advances in the care of patients with melanoma, there is still a need for new treatments. Providence Cancer Center is currently enrolling melanoma patients in several studies, including these two investigator-initiated immunotherapy trials:

Click here to see all melanoma studies currently open to patients.

Click here to see all Providence studies in all cancer types.