Outlining Novel Cellular Adjuvant Products for Therapeutic Vaccines Against Cancer

Josianne Nitcheu Tefit; Vincent Serra


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2011;10(8):1207-1220. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Despite the library of new adjuvants available for use in vaccines, we remain, at present, almost reliant on aluminum-based compounds for clinical use. The increasing use of recombinant subunit vaccines, however, makes the need for improved adjuvant of particular interest. Adjuvants are crucial components of all cancer vaccines whether they are composed of whole cells, proteins or peptides. For the purposes of this article, cellular adjuvant products are defined as adjuvants associated with cellular or T-cell immunity. Several pharmaceutical companies are developing new adjuvants or immune enhancers for the treatment of cancers such as melanoma and non-small-cell lung carcinoma. Several products are being developed and have entered clinical trials either alone or in combination. In this article, we discuss recent adjuvant development and novel cellular adjuvant products for therapeutic cancer vaccines.


The therapeutic vaccine effort that has accumulated the most clinical results has been the development of vaccines for melanoma patients. Hundreds of patients with advanced stage III or IV melanoma, many with metastatic disease having failed chemotherapy, have participated in these studies. However, producing effective treatment vaccines has proven much more difficult and challenging than developing preventive cancer vaccines.[1] Cancer vaccines contain at least two components: a specific antigenic component and a nonspecific adjuvant component. Multiple adjuvants have been developed to augment the potency of cancer vaccines in order to generate appropriate types of response to control the disease, in particular, the induction of potent and long-lasting CD8+ T cells. These adjuvants have ranged from general immune stimulants, such as the live attenuated tuberculosis vaccine bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), derived from Mycobacterium bovis, to molecularly defined compositions that trigger specific receptors. In this article, we discuss recent advances in the development of cellular or T-helper (Th)1 (associated with T-cell immunity) adjuvant products for therapeutic cancer vaccines. The most studied adjuvant products for cancer immunotherapy are summarized in Table 1.


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