Identification of Relevant Cancer Antigens for Vaccine Development

In This Article

Summary and Future Directions

The most critical element in the design of a cancer vaccine is the selection of the tumor antigens that will be used to construct it. Several major obstacles stand in the way of this goal. One is that the identity of the tumor antigens that can stimulate clinically effective tumor-protective immune responses in humans remains unknown. Another is the heterogeneity in the antigenic profile of tumors and in the ability of antigens to stimulate immune responses in different individuals. However, it is possible to circumvent these problems by constructing a vaccine from a selected "cocktail" of tumor-associated antigens.

Presently, the field is moving in 3 major directions concurrently: (1) conducting large-scale phase III randomized clinical trials to formally examine the clinical effectiveness of the most promising current vaccines; (2) identifying additional tumor antigens that may be important for vaccine construction; and (3) developing more potent procedures of boosting the immunogenicity of vaccines by using different adjuvant strategies.

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