Author(s): Slingluff CL Jr, ChianeseBullock KA, Bullock TN, Grosh WW, Mullins DW,
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Abstract The development of effective immune therapy for cancer is a central goal of immunologists in the 21st century. Our laboratories have been deeply involved in characterization of the immune response to melanoma and translation of laboratory discoveries into clinical trials. We have identified a cohort of peptide antigens presented by Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules on melanoma cells and widely recognized by T cells from melanoma patients. These have been incorporated into peptide-based vaccines that induce CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell responses in 80-100\% of patients. Major objective clinical tumor regressions have been observed in some patients, and overall survival in vaccinated patients exceeds expected stage-specific survival. New clinical trials will determine the value of combination of melanoma helper peptides (MHP) into multipeptide vaccines targeting CD8 cells. New trials will also evaluate new approaches to modulating the host-tumor relationship and will develop new combination therapies. Parallel investigations in murine models are elucidating the immunobiology of the melanoma-host relationship and addressing issues that are not feasible to approach in human trials. Based on the fact that the largest cohort of melanoma antigens are derived from normal proteins concerned with pigment production, we have evaluated the mechanisms of self-tolerance to tyrosinase (Tyr) and have determined how T cells in an environment of self-tolerance are impacted by immunization. Using peptide-pulsed dendritic cells as immunogens, we have also used the mouse model to establish strategies for quantitative and qualitative enhancement of antitumor immunity. This information creates opportunities for a new generation of therapeutic interventions using cancer vaccines.
This article was published in Adv Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology