For the past 10 years, doctors at Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology have been vaccinating melanoma patients after removing their metastatic melanoma. What is unique at Hadassah is the long-term nature of the vaccination regimen. According to the medical literature, these patients usually have only a 20 percent chance of survival, but Hadassah patients with the same condition who receive long-term follow up have a survival rate of 45 percent.
The Sharett Institute is one of the few medical facilities that runs and sustains long-term vaccination projects. The treatment is individualized because patients receive vaccines made from their own tumor cells. Hadassah is now embarking on another innovative approach to cancer immunization: creating and administering dendritic cell vaccine. This vaccine involves extracting a special type of white blood cells from the patient’s blood, growing them outside of the body, and then returning them to the lymph nodes to generate a strong immune response against cancer. The vaccine regimen calls upon the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of professionals from the departments of oncology, cancer immunology, invasive radiology, and nuclear medicine.