Step 2 - Collecting the sample


"I had to wait five days – it was a long time"

"I had to wait five days – it was a long time"

Once consent has been given, taking a surgical sample is the next moment of truth: patients can only proceed with the trial if the lymphocytes taken from the tumour multiply correctly in the laboratory.

Medical professionals

"Getting these samples is a real race against time"

"Getting these samples is a real race against time"

The surgical operation is not about removing the patient’s cancer, which is much too far advanced at this stage, but taking a piece – from a metastasis or organ – that can be used to develop a personalised treatment. Explanations from Prof. Nicolas Demartines, head of the Visceral Surgery Department, who operates, with his team, on the patients we are tracking here as part of an in-depth study.



minutes required for operating on a patient suffering from a metastatic melanoma


hours may be needed for other tumours, depending on their location


minutes maximum between the surgical operation and the arrival of the tissue sample in the laboratory


cm3 minimum to be able to create a cell culture

Any clinical trial generally consists of four successive phases. In the clinical trial that we focus on here – of which the principal investigator is Prof. George Coukos, head of the Oncology Department of CHUV-UNIL –, phase 1 is currently underway. This phase aims to assess patients’ tolerance of the treatment. The results of the trial will only be published following the research protocol. Media should address any requests relating to this trial to the CHUV Communication Department.