Combining laser and immunotherapy for Uveal Melanoma to Save Lifes
The LUMC has as one of its three main focus areas Oncology. The Department of Ophthalmology of the LUMC is the Centre of Excellence for treatment of Uveal Melanoma, the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. The Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion is specialised in using the immune system to treat malignancies or prevent the development of metastases. AURA Biosciences is a company that is working to develop a new therapy for the treatment of Uveal Melanoma, using photosensitiser Au-011 for photodynamic therapy. Uveal Melanoma is a malignancy that is deadly in 50% of the patients. There is currently no treatment to prevent or treat metastases, not even by immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) which are being successfully applied in many different malignancies. Mouse studies have shown that combining tumor cell destruction with a photosensitiser and laser together with immune checkpoint inhibitors can induce an effective anti-tumor immune response (Kleinovink et al). We will investigate whether combining photodynamic therapy of ocular tumors with ICI will stimulate the patient's immune response. Finding a cure for Uveal Melanoma metastases will save lifes. This approach will improve the quality (and duration) of life, one of the targets of Health~Holland, and fits into the area of personalised medicine of the National Science Agenda of the Netherlands.