Cancer Vaccines: A Brief Overview

Vaccine approaches for cancer differ from traditional vaccine approaches for infectious disease in tending to focus on clearing active disease rather than preventing disease. In this review, we provide a brief overview of different types of vaccines and adjuvants that have been investigated for the purpose of controlling cancer burdens in patients, some of which are approved for clinical use or in late-stage clinical trials, such as the personalized dendritic cell vaccine sipuleucel-T (Provenge) and the recombinant viral prostate cancer vaccine PSA-TRICOM (Prostvac-VF). Vaccines against human viruses implicated in the development and progression of certain cancers, such as human papillomavirus in cervical cancer, are not considered here. Cancers express "altered self" antigens that tend to induce weaker responses than the "foreign" antigens expressed by infectious agents. Thus, immune stimulants and adjuvant approaches have been explored widely. Vaccine types considered include autologous patient-derived immune cell vaccines, tumor antigen-expressing recombinant virus vaccines, peptide vaccines, DNA vaccines, and heterologous whole-cell vaccines derived from established human tumor cell lines. Opportunities to develop effective cancer vaccines may benefit from seminal recent advances in understanding how immunosuppressive barricades are erected by tumors to mediate immune escape. In particular, targeted ablation of these barricades with novel agents, such as the immune checkpoint drug ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) approved recently for clinical use, may offer significant leverage to vaccinologists seeking to control and prevent malignancy.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2016 [Epub]

Sunil Thomas, George C Prendergast

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, 100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA, 19096, USA., Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, 100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA, 19096, USA. .