Roswell Park is an authorized treatment center, the only one in the region, for the new TIL therapy, Amtagvi.

Among the first

Roswell Park participated in the clinical trials that led to FDA approval of Amtagvi. Ongoing studies at cancer centers across the nation, including at Roswell Park, continue to assess Amtagvi for use in patients with other solid tumor cancers, such as cervical, ovarian, lung, bladder and squamous cell head and neck cancers.

The very first tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy for solid tumor cancers to gain FDA approval, Amtagvi™ (lifileucel), was approved in February 2024 for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma. Eligible patients include those whose disease cannot be treated with surgery and has progressed despite immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapy. 

TIL therapy takes advantage of the body’s naturally occurring immune cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells. Years ago, physicians and scientists realized that T cells are an amazing component of the immune system, and that they can be harnessed to activate the whole immune system against cancer. “These cells can proliferate, persist, be targeted toward cancer, can have memory, and can last for years in a patient. Plus, they secrete small proteins that recruit other immune cells to the fight, too,” says Marco Davila, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Cellular Therapies. 

How TIL therapy works

After removing your tumor through an operation, T cells from inside the tumor are collected from your tumor tissues. Because these T cells have infiltrated the tumor already, they are able to recognize the cancer, but there are too few of them to kill all the cancer. These tumor-infiltrating cells are sent to a laboratory, where they are multiplied and reinvigorated into an army of billions and returned to you through an intravenous (IV) infusion. Then your T-cell army can hunt down and destroy the cancer cells.

At Roswell Park, our patients have some of the earliest access to these novel cell therapies through clinical trials and TIL therapy was one of them. We offered it to melanoma patients, years before FDA approval and are really excited about the upcoming new cellular therapies we will offer through clinical trials very soon. 

Anuradha Krishnamurthy, MBBS
Associate Director for Early Phase Clinical Trials for Solid Tumor Cell Therapies

What to expect from TIL therapy

Receiving TIL therapy is a multi-step process that involves:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor or metastatic lesion. This tissue is then sent to a laboratory where the T cells can be retrieved and multiplied into millions, creating the TIL therapy specifically for you. This process takes about 22 days.
  • Chemotherapy. The purpose of this short course of chemotherapy given over 7 days is remove some of your immune cells to make room for the new ones you are about to receive.  (This chemotherapy is NOT the high intensity chemotherapy associated with stem cell transplantation.)
  • TIL infusion. You will receive your TIL therapy through a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion.
  • High dose interleukin 2 (IL-2) therapy. Interleukins are a special type of protein produced by the white blood cells that stimulate the growth of T cells and other immune cells in your body. The high dose IL-2 therapy acts as nutrition or fuel for your immune system to power up. You’ll receive a short course, up to six doses over 3 days of this treatment via an infusion.

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