Immune-Boosting Components Double the Effectiveness of Melanoma Vaccine Candidate in Phase II Trial

Source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, November 2020

A vaccine created to prevent the recurrence of the deadly skin cancer melanoma is about twice as effective when patients also receive two components that boost the number and effectiveness of immune system dendritic cells (DCs), according to the results of a Phase II clinical trial published in Nature Cancer.

Researchers at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, working with colleagues at the National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, tested the approach in patients treated using CDX-1401, a vaccine that is designed to target dendritic cells, and which is composed of an antigen found in melanoma bound to an antibody to increase the chances of binding with dendritic cells.

They found that addition of the small molecule, Flt3L (fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand), which increases the number of dendritic cells, boosted the vaccine’s effectiveness at triggering the production of antibodies and T cells that can later fight melanoma.

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