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Vector Vaccine Approach Involves Combination of Strategies

Vector Vaccine Approach Involves Combination of Strategies

ORLANDO—A promising approach in vector vaccine development is the use of
a combination of vaccination strategies that enhance T-cell responses for
specific tumor-associated antigens, said Jeffrey Schlom, PhD, chief of the
Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research,
National Cancer Institutes, Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Schlom spoke at a symposium on cancer vaccines held in conjunction
with the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
and sponsored by Antigenics Inc. and the University of Connecticut School of
Medicine.

"Because tumor-associated antigens are, by definition, either weakly
immunogenic or functionally nonimmuno-genic, vaccine strategies must be
developed in which the presentation of the antigens to the immune system
results in far greater activation of T cells than is being achieved naturally
in the host," Dr. Schlom said.

He described a number of vaccine strategies that have been used to enhance
T-cell responses to specific antigens. Vectors have been used to provide more
efficient delivery of tumor-associated antigens to antigen-presenting cells.
A DNA vaccine may be created through the insertion of single or multiple
genes of interest, such as genes for known antigens, into a viral vector such
as a poxvirus.

The pox vectors vaccinia and avipox—fowlpox and/or canarypox (ALVAC,
Aventis Pasteur)—have been used successfully in this regard. These vectors
allow for insertion of multiple genes, do not integrate into host DNA, and
efficiently infect antigen-presenting cells, including dendritic cells.

Prime/Boost Strategy

According to Dr. Schlom, the use of two different recombinant vectors,
known as a prime-and-boost strategy, induces a more potent T-cell response
compared with the use of a single vector. Multiple vaccinations with
recombinant vaccinia vectors cannot be used because of induction of host
immunity to the virus, he said. However, primary vaccination with a
recombinant vaccinia vector followed by booster vaccinations with a
recombinant avipox vector can optimally induce T-cell responses.

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