Vaccines against non-viral cancers target mainly differentiation antigens, cancer testis antigens, and overexpressed antigens. One common feature to these antigens is their presence in central immunological tolerance. Using these vaccines, T cells underwent depletion of high avidity clones directed against such antigens. This depletion can cause the loss of T cells bearing high affinity T cell receptors (TCRs) for their cognate antigens which have superior cytotoxic capacity, longer persistence in the tumor microenvironment, and decreased susceptibility to immune suppression.
The Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified more than 200 immunogenic epitopes from multiple cancer types including melanoma, ovarian, colorectal, lung and breast cancers. To use those defined neoantigens for therapeutic purposes, NCI researchers have developed a personalized dendritic cell (DC) vaccine. Monocytes are isolated from patients’ apheresis, differentiated into DCs, loaded with immunogenic peptides and matured using a combination of cytokines and Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) ligands. These cells can then be administered to patients to prompt tumor-specific high avidity T cells against cancer-specific antigens. This pipeline can be applied to any cancer type and can be completed rapidly.
The NCI, Surgery Branch, is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize this dendritic cell vaccine.