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Peptide Cancer Vaccines

Reflecting recent work in the lab

In light of the numerous US FDA-approved humanized monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for cancer immunotherapy, it is surprising that the advancement of B-cell epitope vaccines designed to elicit a natural humoral polyclonal antibody response has not gained traction in the immune-oncology landscape.

Passive immunotherapy with humanized mAbs (Trastuzumab [HerceptinR ]; Pertuzumab [PerjetaR ]) has provided clinical benefit to breast cancer patients, albeit with significant shortcomings including toxicity problems and resistance, high costs, sophisticated therapeutic regimen, and long half-life. The role of B-cell humoral immunity in cancer is underappreciated and underdeveloped.

Kaumaya's lab has advanced the idea of active immunotherapy with chimeric B-cell epitope peptides incorporating a ‘promiscuous’ T-cell epitope that elicits a polyclonal antibody response, which provides safe, cost–effective therapeutic advantage over mAbs. They have created a portfolio of validated B-cell peptide epitopes against multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (HER-1, HER-3, IGF-1R and VEGF). They have successfully translated two HER-2 combination B-cell peptide vaccines in Phase I and II clinical trials. They have recently developed an effective novel PD-1 vaccine. In this article, Kaumaya will review their approaches and strategies that focus on B-cell epitope cancer vaccines.

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