Immunotherapy Program



We are a long time approved Medical Center for the administration of high dose IL-2   and  This therapy can be intense and actually few medical centers have the expertise or infrastructural support to deliver it, yet it can actually cure some individuals with metastatic melanoma and kidney cancer. We have cured many individuals with these cancers at Penn State many of whom had failed prior available therapies. We are currently exploring novel ways to improve the success rate for both diseases. Below is the before and after of a young man with metastatic kidney cancer who is now 8 years cancer free after IL-2 immunotherapy.

We are also an approved Sipileucel-T Medical Center. Sipileucel-T is the first FDA-approved active cancer vaccine indicated for men with Castrate-resistant Prostate Cancer based on a survival benefit noted in the definitive phase III" IMPACT" trial. See reference (Kantoff PW et al.  N Engl J Med. 2010;363(5):411-22)

It involves immunization of the patient's own immune presentation cells (dendritic cells) with a prostate cancer vaccine while outside of the body. The cells are removed during a pheresis procedure. The immunized cells are then returned as an infusion to the patient. We will soon be testing novel experimental dendritic-cell based vaccines for kidney cancer as well in an effort to improve outcomes when combined with conventional therapy.

Penn State Cancer Institute has robust Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Programs for both adults and children for a variety of diseases but predominantly for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Allogeneic transplantation is a form of adoptive cell therapy involving the transfer of pluripotent stem cells into a recipient. The new stem cells can develop into a new immune system of the donor rather than the host and this can lead to an immunologic destruction of residual cancer cells and potentially cure of the patient.  At PSHCI, we also perform non-myeloablative transplants which use mild chemotherapy in order to allow engraftment of the host stem cells. Since it is less toxic, it extends the use of allogeneic transplantation to  older patients and others who ordinarily would not be considered good candidate for allogeneic transplantation. We have been involved in research using this form of transplantation and have had published good outcomes using the novel immunosuppressive drug, sirolimus. At PSHCI, we can also perform Donor Lymphocyte Infusion therapy , a form of adoptive cell therapy, in which donor lymphocytes are infused into prior bone marrow transplant patients who have had relapsed disease and this therapy can induce additional remissions some of which are long lasting.

Our Stem Cell Laboratory has supported research studies of adoptive cell therapy for various tumor types and can support this modality for future studies.


List of ongoing clinical trials will be available soon.