Cancer vaccines in the immunotherapy era: Rational approach

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The 13th annual World Vaccine Congress held in Washington DC (April 16-18, 2013) sponsored a plenary and a session focused on cancer vaccine. The cancer vaccine session consisted of three presentations: “Cancer vaccine landscape overview” by Dr Jeffrey Schlom, a Chief of the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research (CCR), National Cancer Institute (NCI); “Immune-system based cancer vaccines” by Dr Geert-Jan Boons, the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center of the University of Georgia; “Peptide vaccine for malignant gliomas” by Dr Robert Fenstermaker, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

As Dr Jay Berzofsky, Chief of the new Vaccine Branch (CCR, NCI) pointed out in the plenary, not only the quantity but also the quality (avidity and longevity)1 of T cell activation is important for the clearance of cancer cells, each of the presented cancer vaccine platforms will first be reviewed by its immunological design to promote the activation of T cells. Then, the benefits of combined cancer vaccines therapy with conventional cancer therapy will be discussed with a mathematical model from NCI prostate cancer trials.

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