Rolf Kiessling, Karolinska Institutet

This program is vital, not only to help develop and finance the production process of the cells needed, but to coordinate the large number of teams involved. The support given by the program is very helpful in our ongoing clinical trial in malignant melanoma, says Rolf Kiessling, Senior Professor in experimental oncology, Karolinska Institutet.

Recently, we have seen remarkable results with "combined" cell therapy – two patients are showing almost total regression of their disease.
Rolf Kiessling, Senior Professor in Experimental Oncology, Karolinska Institutet

Cellular immune therapies are in the spotlight now but Karolinska has been doing it for years both in NK-cells and T-cells.

– Parts of my research group are focusing on basic aspects of tumor immunology – how tumors escape detection of the immune system, and development of tumor vaccine delivery methods. We are also involved in the clinical aspects of immune therapy – developing a cellular immune therapy against malignant melanoma, a nasty type of skin cancer which is very difficult to treat when it has started to spread.

– I think that the cell therapy field is still at an early stage of development, although there are already some very promising results seen, particularly for gene modified T-cells treating hematological tumors.

– In the future I would like to see cell therapies also work against solid tumors – one of the challenges which we are addressing in our current clinical trial, where we combine two types of cells, T cells and Dendritic cells (DC cells). Recently, we have seen remarkable results with this type of "combined" cell therapy - two patients receiving this treatment are showing almost total regression of their disease. Our goal will be to extend this type of therapy to treat more patients, also with other tumor types.