Treatment of melanoma with dendritic cells in Germany ⭐ Booking Health

Treatment of melanoma with dendritic cells in Germany

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Immunotherapy for melanoma is the treatment of choice for patients with metastatic tumors, resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, and disease recurrence after the successful initial treatment. Vaccination with dendritic cells reboots a person's immunity, teaching it to find and attack melanoma cells throughout the body. In this case, the vaccine is made individually from the person's immune cells. In Germany, the dendritic cell melanoma treatment complements the standard therapeutic protocol in many patients. This is one of the reasons for the excellent results and the long relapse-free period after completion of treatment in this country.


  1. Who will benefit from the melanoma vaccine?
  2. How is dendritic cell vaccination performed?
  3. Results of vaccination with dendritic cells in melanoma
  4. How to undergo dendritic cell vaccination in Germany

Who will benefit from the melanoma vaccine?


Vaccination complements the complex treatment regimen for melanoma, which includes the maximum possible excision of the tumor, irradiation of regional lymph nodes (in the presence of indications), administration of cytostatic agents (chemotherapy), and targeted therapy. It can be carried out:

  1. In the early stages of cancer, after surgery. In stages 1 and 2 of melanoma, surgery is the only treatment method in the conventional protocol. However, the additional administration of the melanoma vaccine reduces the risk of the disease recurrence.
  2. In the advanced stages of cancer, in the presence of distant metastases in the liver, brain, lungs, and other internal organs. In this situation, vaccination suppresses the growth of metastases of all localizations and prevents the progression of the disease.
  3. For unresectable tumors. In this case, the vaccine slows down the growth of the primary tumor, prevents metastasizing, and allows the disease to be controlled longer.

While the effectiveness of targeted melanoma therapy depends on the genetic peculiarities of the tumor (the presence or absence of a BRAF mutation, identification of which requires additional genetic analysis), the dendritic cell vaccine works in all patients. Depending on the peculiarities of the clinical course of melanoma, the doctor only adjusts the duration of the treatment course and the number of vaccine doses.


«The melanoma vaccine is indicated to all patients, regardless of the antigenic composition of the tumor and the presence of a BRAF mutation.»


An additional advantage of using dendritic cells in the treatment of melanoma is their excellent tolerability and absence of severe side effects. The drug can be administered to people with any body weight at any stage of cancer. If, during the examination before the start of vaccination, doctors reveal severe disorders of the liver or kidneys function. In that case, additional treatment is carried out in order to normalize their function.

How is dendritic cell vaccination performed?


Treatment with dendritic cells begins with manufacturing a vaccine. While prophylactic vaccines can be simply purchased, the dendritic cell vaccine is made for the patient individually. The advantage of such a vaccine is that it corresponds to the peculiarities of immunity and a tumor in a particular person. The main disadvantage is that manufacturing the drug takes time and requires the availability of a specialized laboratory at the clinic.

During the first visit to the clinic, the patient undergoes a leukapheresis procedure. This allows doctors to extract from the blood the maximum number of monocytes (these are blood cells from which immature dendritic cells can be obtained). Dendritic cells are cultivated in the laboratory. When their number reaches the required minimum, the cells are introduced to the antigens of the tumor. These may be part of the patient's tumor (after a biopsy or surgical removal) or lab-created antigens. As a result, the vaccine contains thousands of dendritic cells that are able to recognize melanoma and its metastases.

Vaccination with dendritic cells in people with melanoma

The drug can be administered in several ways:

  1. Intradermal injection. With this way of introduction, 1-2% of the cells from the vaccine are active. This, however, is quite sufficient for the formation of anti-cancer immunity.
  2. Subcutaneously. This is a less effective, albeit simpler, route of administration. In this case, less than 1% of the cells from the vaccine are active.
  3. In the lymph nodes in the affected area. This is the most effective type of vaccination. Up to 80% of cells are actively involved in the formation of antitumor immunity.
  4. Intravenously. When administered intravenously, dendritic cells do not accumulate objectively in the affected body region. They accumulate in the lungs, spleen, liver, and red bone marrow. Clinical efficacy in the treatment of melanoma is minimal in this case.

In most cases, the vaccine is injected into the lymph nodes, which are pre-visualized with the help of ultrasound. If this is not possible for some reason, then doctors will prefer an intradermal injection. Before vaccination, German doctors can additionally carry out a session of photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT involves the intravenous administration of substances that accumulate in melanoma cells and make them more sensitive to light with a certain wavelength. At the same time, such light is completely safe for healthy tissues. The area affected by melanoma is placed under a special lamp, and its cells are destroyed due to the action of the introduced photosensitizer.

The patient receives several vaccine doses at intervals of 2 to 8 weeks. This depends on the stage of cancer and the response to treatment.


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Results of vaccination with dendritic cells in melanoma


Vaccination initiates antitumor immunity and maintains its highest activity for a long time. Thanks to this, German doctors have achieved several important goals and high success rates in melanoma therapy:

  • Suppress growth of the primary tumor and its metastases
  • Prevent further metastasizing of melanoma
  • Prolong life and improve its quality
  • Minimize the risk of melanoma recurrence

All this is possible due to the fact that an individually created vaccine with dendritic cells affects several parts of the anti-cancer immune response. Special laboratory blood tests, namely immunogram, help doctors evaluate the degree of this effect. Several specific changes are present in the study of the immune system after vaccination:

  1. Activation of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. They destroy the tumor by damaging the membranes of its cells.
  2. Activation of NK cells. They destroy the nucleus and internal structures of malignant cells.
  3. The formation of "immune memory cells." They collect and store information about the tumor and allow the immune system to respond to the development of a relapse quickly.

Research on dendritic cell vaccines continues; the drugs become more and more perfect every year. Scientists change the conditions for the reproduction of dendritic cells and experiment with tumor antigens to activate them. This increases the antitumor potential of vaccines and the level of anti-cancer immune response in patients.


«The anti-cancer immunity formed after the completion of DC therapy for melanoma remains highly active for a long time, during several months or even years.»


Treatment of melanoma with dendritic cells in Germany


How to undergo dendritic cell vaccination in Germany


Due to the specifics of the vaccine manufacturing, dendritic cell treatment is unavailable in all hospitals. If you want to supplement the standard treatment of melanoma with this innovative method of immunotherapy, you can contact one of the specialized German clinics. Thanks to the excellent organization of medical care, German clinics can also admit foreign patients.

You can choose a clinic and make an appointment for a convenient date on the Booking Health website. Here you can also check the average cost of treatment. Booking Health is an international company that has been helping patients from 75 countries undergo cancer treatment in Germany for over 12 years. The quality of its work in the field of medical tourism meets high international standards.

Booking Health experts will help you:

  • Choose a clinic and doctor specializing in the treatment of melanoma, including the use of dendritic cell vaccines
  • Make an appointment on the desired date without being on a long waiting list
  • Understand the preliminary treatment program (how many times you will need to visit the clinic, what examinations you will need to undergo, etc.)
  • Communicate with your doctor; if necessary, arrange a distant consultation
  • Get treatment at a favorable cost, without additional taxes for foreign patients that are present in many clinics (saving up to 50%)
  • Undergo additional treatment or rehabilitation, purchase medicines to continue the course of treatment at home
  • Translate the existing medical records into German, translate recommendations after the treatment completion into your native language
  • Check prices and final calculation from the clinic
  • Maintain contact with the clinic after the treatment completion

Booking Health doctors will provide independent control of all stages of your treatment. Company managers will take care of the organizational part: visa issuing, flights, transfers, accommodation, translation services, and much more. During your stay in Germany and until your return home, a personal medical coordinator will always be in touch with you.


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The article was edited by medical experts, board certified doctors Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova and Dr. Vadim Zhiliuk. For the treatment of the conditions referred to in the article, you must consult a doctor; the information in the article is not intended for self-medication!

Our editorial policy, which details our commitment to accuracy and transparency, is available here. Click this link to review our policies.



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