DNA vaccine targets family of tumor antigens & shows promise for cancer immunotherapy
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PHILADELPHIA — (Sept. 27, 2018) — Scientists at The Wistar Institute have implemented a novel structurally designed synthetic DNA vaccine to simultaneously target multiple members of a family of proteins that are specifically overexpressed in several types of cancer. This approach addressed a difficult issue in cancer immunotherapy, specifically how to simultaneously drive antitumor immune responses against multiple tumor antigens in a single, easily delivered formulation. The new strategy could simplify immunotherapy treatment and may prevent cancer escape from immune pressure as the immune system could attack the cancer at multiple susceptible target points. The new vaccine, targeting the human cancer-associated MAGE-A family of proteins, is effective and safe in a melanoma preclinical model, as described in a paper published online in Clinical Cancer Research.

Because their expression is restricted to tumor cells, proteins belonging to the MAGE-A family represent promising targets for immunotherapy. Yet, cancer vaccines targeting the original MAGE-A3 member, which has the highest expression in several solid tumors, have thus far failed to demonstrate efficacy in clinical trials.

In an attempt to solve this conundrum and advance the clinical applications of this promising immunotherapy, researchers at Wistar performed a thorough analysis of the expression levels of

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