Summary of Department
Cancer immunotherapy is the main focus of cancer treatment as well as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Cell therapy is a treatment method that uses human cells and tissues processed in vitro, in which cellular material is injected, grafted or implanted into patients.
In 2015, we conducted a phase I doctor-initiated clinical trial of dendritic cell vaccine for adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) as a project of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). ATL is an aggressive peripheral T-cell neoplasm caused by HTLV-1 infection that has a very poor prognosis with conventional chemotherapies, i.e. a survival time of around one year. Thus far, our team has conducted dendritic cell vaccine therapy for nine patients and shown it to be a very safe treatment with minimal side effects. Eight of the patients have had a good quality of life without relapsing for more than a year. One patient has survived for over five years, resulting in a longer healthy life span than might have been achieved with conventional treatment. Based on these results, we plan to start a phase II clinical trial in 2019. We also perform outpatient treatment of HTLV-1 carriers with physical condition management and health consultation. In the future, we are planning to administer the vaccine in order to prevent the onset of ATL in HTLV-1 carriers who have risk factors for ATL onset.