Personalised vaccines could help the immune system fight cancer

Editor: Philip Ragner | Tactical Investor

Random thoughts

Anyone can see how polarised the world is today.  What we stated has come to pass with alarming swiftness, and it is only going to get worse, but that is a story for another day, or perhaps we will delve into later on in this issue. For now, what you need to understand is polarisation is the perfect breeding ground for insanity. Insanity thrives under such conditions; many individuals will be trapped in an illusory world that for all intents and purposes will appear real to them. Political Polarization: Trump-Brexit win Polarisation Grips Financial advisers

Personalized Cancer Vaccine Enhances Immune Response

Researchers at Harvard have described a new process that could help ward off cancer: here is an excerpt from that research

Existing strategies to enhance peptide immunogenicity for cancer vaccination generally require direct peptide alteration, which, beyond practical issues, may impact peptide presentation and result in vaccine variability. Here, we report a simple adsorption approach using polyethyleneimine (PEI) in a mesoporous silica microrod (MSR) vaccine to enhance antigen immunogenicity. The MSR–PEI vaccine significantly enhanced host dendritic cell activation and T-cell response over the existing MSR vaccine and bolus vaccine formulations. Impressively, a single injection of the MSR–PEI vaccine using an E7 peptide completely eradicated large, established TC-1 tumours in about 80% of mice and generated immunological memory. When immunized with a pool of B16F10 or CT26 neoantigens, the MSR–PEI vaccine eradicated established lung metastases, controlled tumour growth and synergized with anti-CTLA4 therapy. Our findings from three independent tumour models suggest that the MSR-PEI vaccine approach may serve as a facile and powerful multi-antigen platform to enable robust personalized cancer vaccination.

More developments on the Research Frontier

Recently, researchers set out to design a vaccine that is much more patient-specific. They attempted to tailor a vaccine to specifically match the patient’s individual disease.

The research took place across a range of institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Lausanne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland.

The team concentrated on people with advanced ovarian cancer, a particularly difficult cancer to manage; treatment normally involves surgery followed by chemotherapy and, although there is often a good response initially, patients tend to relapse and become resistant to treatment.

Though the study only set out to determine whether such a personalized treatment was possible and safe, the results were positive and the authors believe that the technology has enormous potential. Full Story


Lead study author Dr. Janos L. Tanyi explains, “The idea is to mobilize an immune response that will target the tumor very broadly, hitting a variety of markers including some that would be found only on that particular tumor.”

The 2-year overall survival rate of these responder patients was 100 percent, whereas the rate for non-responders was just 25 percent.” Dr. Janos L. Tanyi

“This vaccine,” explains Dr. Tanyi, “appears to be safe for patients, and elicits a broad anti-tumor immunity — we think it warrants further testing in larger clinical trials.”

Personalized vaccines could help the immune system fight cancer

The two teams of researchers conducted independent Phase I trials of personalized vaccines designed to prime the patients’ immune systems against melanomas, a category of skin cancers. In a scientific double whammy, both studies found that their vaccines—sometimes in combination with other immunotherapies—were able to prevent recurrence of the cancers in nearly all their subjects.

“We can safely and feasibly create a vaccine that is personalized to an individual’s tumor,” says Catherine Wu, senior author of one of the studies and associate professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “It’s not one-size-fits-all—rather, it’s tailored to the genetic composition of the patient’s tumor.”

Wu carried out her study with colleagues in Boston at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute. The other study was conducted in parallel by researchers in Germany, led by study first author Ugur Sahin, the co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, a biotechnology company that focuses on personalized immunotherapy treatments.Full |Story

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