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Oct 08, 2009
 |  BC Innovations  |  Tools & Techniques

An inflammatory vaccine

Researchers at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have taken a new approach to DNA cancer vaccines: damaging host tissue to induce an inflammatory response and greater immune recognition of the antigen.1 The team hopes its modified idiotype-based vaccine plus an inflammation-inducing myotoxin adjuvant can overcome the poor efficacy of most previously tested DNA vaccines-a clinical trial is already in the planning.

Idiotypes are DNA sequences coding for unique portions of the variable regions of the heavy and light chains of the immunoglobulins expressed on the surface of B cells. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have idiotype vaccines in Phase II testing to treat lymphoma.2

However, DNA vaccination strategies have so far underperformed because the plasmid DNA-based vaccines fail to induce a significant immune response and the process required to develop the patient- and tumor-specific treatments is laborious.

To address these issues, Larry Kwak and colleagues at M.D. Anderson have developed a more streamlined, second-generation procedure to create lymphoma vaccines. The key, they think, was fusing the idiotype sequence to a DNA sequence encodingmonocyte

chemoattractant protein 3 (MCP-3; CCL7) and administering it with a myotoxin adjuvant.

Kwak said the chemokine MCP-3 allows direct targeting of the vaccine to antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The myotoxin induces a local inflammatory response at the injection site, which is expected to help the vaccine come in contact with more cells...

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