Early this year, coverage for NKI’s TIL therapy was included in basic health insurance for people with metastatic melanoma. Compared to treatment with immunotherapy drugs, TIL therapy offers patients more than double the chance of a response, and it more than doubles progression-free survival. So far, it also seems like a number of patients recover. The other side of the coin is that it is a heavy treatment that has limited or no effect in a subgroup of patients.
“For several decades it seemed like nothing but a dream: multiplying and activating immune cells from a tumor in the lab so they can attack and destroy the cancer once returned to the body”, states jury member and Member of the Board - Chief Medical Officer Jacqueline Stouthard. “But our TIL-team did it! Through intensive collaboration between fundamental and translational researchers, technical innovations, expertise from pharmacists and lab specialists, collaborations between pathologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, and countless other medical specialists, between physicians and nurses, and thanks to all the efforts from management and the AVL Academy, the Netherlands Cancer Institute has managed to develop and implement TIL therapy for patients with metastatic melanomas.”