The purpose of this study is to assess a combination of immunotherapies against advanced melanoma: the investigational NY-ESO-1 vaccine and the FDA-approved drug ipilimumab. NY-ESO-1 is a protein found on some melanomas. The vaccine that targets this protein is designed to stimulate an immune response against melanoma.
Ipilimumab is an antibody against CTLA-4, a molecule that controls a part of the immune system by shutting it down. Researchers believe that one way cancers can escape the immune system could be through this shut-down mechanism. An antibody against CTLA-4 could stop it from turning off the immune system, and allow an immune reaction to continue. This immune reaction may help the body to destroy remaining cancer cells.
The goal of this study is to assess the safety of and immune response to the NY-ESO-1 vaccine when given to patients in combination with ipilimumab, and to assess the preliminary effectiveness of this therapy.