Research on Universal Cancer Vaccine

Sep 17, 2018 10:13:00 AM by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD

injecting injection vaccine vaccination medicine flu woman doctor_AdobeStock_128513269-029750-editedResearchers are hoping to develop a cancer vaccine to improve a patient’s immune system so they can destroy the cancer cells.

The objective of therapeutic cancer vaccines is to support and enhance a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal cells. The first therapeutic immune cell–based cancer vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Sipuleucel-T. Administration of this vaccine in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer lead to an increase in overall survival. Boosting T-cell responses against antigens that cause a number of diseases has been approached by autologous transfer of dendritic cells. A pilot study was conducted using dendritic cells pulsed with tumor lysate from patients with ovarian cancer. Vaccination of the patients stimulated T-cell responses to the tumor antigen led to an increase in patient survival. 

The development of a personalized treatment with reliable, long-term efficacy and little or no adverse effects are continually sought; however, there remain many challenges in developing candidates that can reach Phase III clinical trials. Newer advances are unveiling information that bolsters research in cancer immunotherapy. For example, research using next-generation sequencing has provided information regarding mutations and patient factors that support a more powerful personalized medicine approach. It is also helping scientists to identify the best antigens to target with immunotherapies.

Immunomic Therapeutics developed a lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP)-based platform that has already been proven effective against certain allergens. The novel platform is called Universal Intracellular Targeted Expression platform (UNITE) and combines various biotechnological methods to enhance MHC-II presentation and adjuvant technologies to provide a system that will stimulate a more comprehensive immune response. A clinical trial is underway to study the effectiveness of Immunomic’s new LAMP-based dendritic cell vaccine against glioblastoma, a very difficult-to-treat form of brain cancer.

In addition to boosting the cancer-attacking capacity of T cells, UNITE can mimic the type of memory seen with preventive vaccines. This feature will allow the immune system to recognize cancer cells upon reemergence and quickly launch an attack against these cells without the need of repeat treatments. If this vaccine proves effective against glioblastoma, it may also be an option for the treatment of other types of cancer and lead to a more universal cancer treatment approach.

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Reference:

Cancer Vaccines: Is There a Future Beyond Trial and Error. (2018). In Vivo. Retrieved 21 August 2018, from https://invivo.pharmaintelligence.informa.com/IV005362/Cancer-Vaccines-Is-There-A-Future-Beyond-Trial-And-Error