Tools: Awakening tumor immunity


Figure 1. Improving tumor vaccine formulation. Hailemichael et al. have shown that a widely used adjuvant leads to T cell inactivity that impairs the efficacy of cancer vaccines and have devised a workaround.

A typical T cell-targeted cancer vaccine is formulated in a mineral oil-based carrier (I[a]). In a mouse tumor model, subcutaneous injection of this formulation draws T cells to the injection site (I[b]), where they accumulate instead of migrating toward the tumor. These locally trapped T cells eventually undergo apoptosis (I[c]), leading to tumor growth and death.

Hailemichael et al. formulated peptide antigens in a saline-based carrier (II[a]) and observed transient localization of T cells to the injection site followed by migration of the T cells toward the tumor (II[b]), leading to an improved antitumor immune response (II[c]).