Abstract: Years of unsuccessful attempts at fighting established tumors with vaccines have taught us all that they are only able to truly impact patient survival when used in a preventive setting, as would normally be the case for traditional vaccines against infectious diseases. While true primary cancer prevention is still but a long-term goal, secondary and tertiary prevention are already in the clinic and providing encouraging results. A combination of immunopreventive cancer strategies and recently approved checkpoint inhibitors is a further promise of forthcoming successful cancer disease control, but prevention will require a considerable reduction of currently reported toxicities. These considerations summed with the increased understanding of tumor antigens allow space for an optimistic view of the future.
Abstract: The barriers presented by immune suppression in the ovarian tumor microenvironment present one of the biggest challenges to development of successful tumor vaccine strategies for prevention of disease recurrence and progression following primary surgery and chemotherapy. New insights gained over the last decade have revealed multiple mechanisms of immune regulation, with ovarian tumor-associated macrophages/DC likely to fulfill a central role in creating a highly immunosuppressive milieu that supports disease progression and blocks anti-tumor immunity. This review provides an appraisal of some of the key signaling pathways that may contribute to immune suppression in ovarian cancer, with a particular focus on the potential involvement of the c-KIT/PI3K/AKT, wnt/β-catenin, IL-6/STAT3 and AhR signaling pathways in regulation of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase expression in tumor-associated macrophages. Knowledge of intercellular and intracellular circuits that shape immune suppression may afford insights for development of adjuvant treatments that alleviate immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment and enhance the clinical efficacy of ovarian tumor vaccines.
Abstract: Vaccination has proven to be an invaluable means of preventing infectious diseases by reducing both incidence of disease and mortality. However, vaccines have not been effectively developed for many diseases including HIV-1, hepatitis C virus (HCV), tuberculosis and malaria, among others. The emergence of new technologies with a growing understanding of host-pathogen interactions and immunity may lead to efficacious vaccines against pathogens, previously thought impossible.
Abstract: Antibodies to immune checkpoints have entered the clinical arena and have been shown to provide a clinical benefit for metastatic melanoma and, possibly, for other tumors as well. In this review paper we summarize this therapeutic activity and underline the functional mechanisms that may be involved. Among them, we discuss the so far neglected role of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) deriving from tumor somatic mutations and summarize the results of recent trials showing the immunogenic strength of such TAAs which can be specifically targeted by T cells activated by immune checkpoint antibodies. Finally we discuss new immunotherapy approaches that involve the combination of self/shared- or neo-TAAs-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade antibodies, to increase the clinical response of metastatic melanoma patients.
Abstract: Developing countries disproportionately suffer from the burden of cervical cancer yet lack the resources to establish systematic screening programs that have resulted in significant reductions in morbidity and mortality in developed countries. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination provides an opportunity for primary prevention of cervical cancer in low-resource settings through vaccine provision by Gavi The Vaccine Alliance. In addition to the traditional national introduction, countries can apply for a demonstration program to help them make informed decisions for subsequent national introduction. This article summarizes information from approved Gavi HPV demonstration program proposals and preliminary implementation findings. After two rounds of applications, 23 countries have been approved targeting approximately 400,000 girls for vaccination. All countries are proposing primarily school-based strategies with mixed strategies to locate and vaccinate girls not enrolled in school. Experiences to date include: Reaching marginalized girls has been challenging; Strong coordination with the education sector is key and overall acceptance has been high. Initial coverage reports are encouraging but will have to be confirmed in population based coverage surveys that will take place later this year. Experiences from these countries are consistent with existing literature describing other HPV vaccine pilots in low-income settings.
Abstract: Adjuvants improve host responsiveness to co-delivered vaccines through a variety of mechanisms. Agents that trigger cells expressing Toll-like receptors (TLR) activate an innate immune response that enhances the induction of vaccine-specific immunity. When administered in combination with vaccines designed to prevent or slow tumor growth, TLR agonists have significantly improved the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Unfortunately, vaccines containing TLR agonists have rarely been able to eliminate large established tumors when administered systemically. To improve efficacy, attention has focused on delivering TLR agonists intra-tumorally with the intent of altering the tumor microenvironment. Agonists targeting TLRs 7/8 or 9 can reduce the frequency of Tregs while causing immunosuppressive MDSC in the tumor bed to differentiate into tumoricidal macrophages thereby enhancing tumor elimination. This work reviews pre-clinical and clinical studies concerning the utility of TLR 7/8/9 agonists as adjuvants for tumor vaccines.