TIL therapy is an advanced and personalized treatment option for people with metastatic melanoma who cannot have surgery and who did not respond to immunotherapy.
The results of research into the efficacy of TIL therapy have convinced the National Health Care Institute that TIL therapy is proven to be effective and can be covered by basic health insurance. The trial compared TIL therapy to immunotherapy with ipilimumab – one of the standard treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma who cannot have surgery and whose treatment was not effective. The efficacy of TIL therapy is at least as good as treatment with ipilimumab. Both treatments inhibit the condition. TIL therapy shows better results than ipilimumab, however, but also leads to more serious side effects. The National Health Care Institute also concluded that there is not enough proof yet that melanoma patients who have received TIL therapy have better long-term survival rates than patients who received ipilimumab.
TIL therapy was developed by several academic hospitals led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The treatment does not have a market authorization, which is why patients with metastatic melanoma in the Netherlands can only be treated with TIL therapy in case of hospital exemption, approved by the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd; IGJ). The IGJ recently approved this exception for TIL treatment as long as the drug is produced in the Netherlands by the NKI or Sanquin. This exception will come into effect as of January 15 for one year. Coverage for TIL therapy will come into effect on this same day.