Prophylactic Vaccine Approach for Colon and Pancreatic Cancers: Present and Future

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Abstract:

Vaccines against cancers have not been as effective as vaccines against infectious diseases. However, recent studies have advanced our understanding of the stages of tumor cell development and of mechanisms of immune surveillance, immune suppression, and of tumor escape from the immune system. The development of animal models that mimic development of human cancers has helped advance the understanding of these processes and is aiding the development of greatly improved vaccines. Here we review the recent progress in developing vaccines and prophylactic approaches for pancreatic and colon cancers. Improved understanding of the expression of various oncogenes and tumor-associated antigens helps in selecting antigenic targets for stage-specific immune prevention. Identification of the earliest alterations in precancerous lesions and selection of epitopes unique to the aberrant cells and capable of triggering strong cytotoxic and helper T cell responses may aid the development of safe and effective vaccines for use in those at high risk of progressing to invasive cancers. The responses can be enhanced with carefully selected adjuvants to boost immunity and by selecting epitopes that are expressed on dendritic cells, thereby promoting T cell responses. Tumor resistance via loss of the targeted antigen can be mitigated by inclusion of multiple tumor epitopes in vaccine constructs. Tumor immune escape can be diminished by targeting various immunosuppressive mechanisms used by different tumors, such as tumor production of immunosuppressive cytokines (e.g., interleukin 10, and Transforming Growth Factor-beta, which can promote activity of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells), or by inhibiting production of inflammatory prostanoids with combined cyclooxygenase/lipoxygenase inhibitors. Finally, prevention of many cancers may be enhanced by carefully selecting and scheduling of vaccine administration in combination with other chemotherapeutic or chemopreventive agents. Preclinical and early clinical trials incorporating these principles are discussed.

Keywords: Colon cancer; oncoproteins; pancreatic cancer; prophylactic vaccines; tumor-associated antigens

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986712801661022

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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