Author(s): Copier J, Ward S, Dalgleish A
There is both clinical and regulatory drive to expedite development of safe, efficacious cancer therapies. Stimulation of the patients immune system through vaccination with tumour cells has long been at the vanguard of cancer therapeutic vaccines, and several have been demonstrated to be safe and to have efficacy in early clinical trials for a range of cancers including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, prostate and colorectal cancers. A number of development-stage vaccines and strategies are currently being tested, utilising either autologous or allogeneic tumour cells, which may also have been ex vivo manipulated (e.g. cytokine transfected cells). It seems likely that clinical trial success, and hence patient benefit, could be improved through better patient identification, possibly by the discovery and use of novel immune response biomarkers. In this review, we aim to summarise the state of tumour cell vaccines in commercial development and to explore not only the difficulties of determining efficacy, but also the production challenges faced when developing a vaccine from proof of principle to pivotal phase III trials.