Abstract: Recent years have seen significant efforts in understanding and modulating the immune response in cancer. In this context, immunosuppressive cells, including regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), have come under intense investigation for their proposed roles in suppressing tumor-specific immune responses and establishing an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, thus enabling tumor immune evasion. Additionally, recent evidence indicates that Tregs comprise diverse and heterogeneous subsets; phenotypically and functionally distinct subsets of tumor-infiltrating Tregs could contribute differently to cancer prognosis and clinical outcomes. Understanding Treg biology in the setting of cancer, and specifically the tumor microenvironment, is important for designing effective cancer therapies. In this review, we critically examine the role of Tregs in the tumor microenvironment and in cancer progression focusing on human studies. We also discuss the impact of current therapeutic modalities on Treg biology and the therapeutic opportunities for targeting Tregs to enhance anti-tumor immune responses and clinical benefits.
Abstract: An effective therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, as an adjunct to newly developed directly-acting antivirals (DAA), or for the prevention of reinfection, would significantly reduce the global burden of disease associated with chronic HCV infection. A recombinant chimpanzee adenoviral (ChAd3) vector and a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), encoding the non-structural proteins of HCV (NSmut), used in a heterologous prime/boost regimen induced multi-specific, high-magnitude, durable HCV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in healthy volunteers, and was more immunogenic than a heterologous Ad regimen. We now assess the immunogenicity of this vaccine regimen in HCV infected patients (including patients with a low viral load suppressed with interferon/ribavirin therapy), determine T-cell cross-reactivity to endogenous virus, and compare immunogenicity with that observed previously in both healthy volunteers and in HCV infected patients vaccinated with the heterologous Ad regimen. Vaccination of HCV infected patients with ChAd3-NSmut/MVA-NSmut was well tolerated. Vaccine-induced HCV-specific T-cell responses were detected in 8/12 patients; however, CD4+ T-cell responses were rarely detected, and the overall magnitude of HCV-specific T-cell responses was markedly reduced when compared to vaccinated healthy volunteers. Furthermore, HCV-specific cells had a distinct partially-functional phenotype (lower expression of activation markers, granzyme B, and TNFα production, weaker in vitro proliferation, and higher Tim3 expression, with comparable Tbet and Eomes expression) compared to healthy volunteers. Robust anti-vector T-cells and antibodies were induced, showing that there is no global defect in immunity. The level of viremia at the time of vaccination did not correlate with the magnitude of the vaccine-induced T-cell response. Full-length, next-generation sequencing of the circulating virus demonstrated that T-cells were only induced by vaccination when there was a sequence mismatch between the autologous virus and the vaccine immunogen. However, these T-cells were not cross-reactive with the endogenous viral variant epitopes. Conversely, when there was complete homology between the immunogen and circulating virus at a given epitope T-cells were not induced. T-cell induction following vaccination had no significant impact on HCV viral load. In vitro T-cell culture experiments identified the presence of T-cells at baseline that could be expanded by vaccination; thus, HCV-specific T-cells may have been expanded from pre-existing low-level memory T-cell populations that had been exposed to HCV antigens during natural infection, explaining the partial T-cell dysfunction. In conclusion, vaccination with ChAd3-NSmut and MVA-NSmut prime/boost, a potent vaccine regimen previously optimized in healthy volunteers was unable to reconstitute HCV-specific T-cell immunity in HCV infected patients. This highlights the major challenge of overcoming T-cell exhaustion in the context of persistent antigen exposure.
Abstract: Aberrantly glycosylated mucin 1 (MUC1) is a recognized tumor-specific antigen on epithelial cell tumors. A wide variety of MUC1 glycopeptide anti-cancer vaccines have been formulated by many research groups. Some researchers have used MUC1 alone as an immunogen whereas other groups used different antigenic carrier proteins such as bovine serum albumin or keyhole limpet hemocyanin for conjugation with MUC1 glycopeptide. A variety of adjuvants have been used with MUC1 glycopeptides to improve their immunogenicity. Fully synthetic multicomponent vaccines have been synthesized by incorporating different T helper cell epitopes and Toll-like receptor agonists. Some vaccine formulations utilized liposomes or nanoparticles as vaccine delivery systems. In this review, we discuss the immunological evaluation of different conjugate or synthetic MUC1 glycopeptide vaccines in different tumor or mouse models that have been published since 2012.
Abstract: Growth factor and cytokine signaling can influence the development of several cancer types. One of the key players in the development of cancer is the Janus kinas (JAK) signal transducer of activators of transcription (STAT) signaling pathway. The majority of growth factors and cytokine interactions with their membrane-bound receptors trigger JAK-STAT activation. The influential relationship between obesity and cancer is a fact. However, there is a complex sequence of events contributing to the regulation of this mechanism to promote tumor growth, yet to be fully elucidated. The JAK-STAT pathway is influenced by obesity-associated changes that have been shown to impact cancer growth and progression. This intricate process is highly regulated by a vast array of adipokines and cytokines that exert their pleiotropic effects on cancer cells to enhance metastasis to distant target sites. Leptin is a cytokine, or more precise, an adipokine secreted mainly by adipose tissue that requires JAK-STAT activation to exert its biological functions. Leptin is the central regulator of energy balance and appetite. Leptin binding to its receptor OB-R in turn activates JAK-STAT, which induces proliferation, angiogenesis, and anti-apoptotic events in normal cells and malignant cells expressing the receptor. Leptin also induces crosstalk with Notch and IL-1 (NILCO), which involves other angiogenic factors promoting tumor growth. Therefore, the existence of multiple novel classes of therapeutics that target the JAK/STAT pathway has significant clinical implications. Then, the identification of the signaling networks and factors that regulate the obesity-cancer link to which potential pharmacologic interventions can be implemented to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. In this review, we will discuss the specific relationship between leptin-JAK-STAT signaling and cancer.
Abstract: This study examined the influences of the dosage of the adjuvant, the nature of the antigen and the host genetics on the capacity of L. fermentum PC1 (PC1) to function as an oral adjuvant. BALB/c and DBA/1 mice were vaccinated with either ovalbumin (OVA) or Salmonella Typhimurium on days 0 and 14, Mice were also dosed with the PC1 (108 CFU or 1011 CFU per dose per mouse) with the antigens (days 0 and 14) and alone (days −1 and 13). The higher PC1 dose elicited a greater specific serum IgG2a response than IgG1 for both antigens and mice strains, indicating a Th1-biased humoral immune response. The Th1 bias was also observed at the cellular level with greater specific IFN-γ levels than IL-4 and IL-10 with both antigen types and mouse strains. With the particulate antigen, the lower dose of PC1 elicited a Th1 bias at the cellular level, but a balanced Th1/Th2 response at the systemic humoral level. With the soluble antigen, a strong Th1-biased response occurred at the cellular level while the systemic humoral response was Th2-biased. In conclusion, PC1 at the higher dose was an excellent Th1 adjuvant, which was unaffected by the nature of the antigen or the host’s genetic background.
Abstract: The interferon (IFN) induced anti-viral response is amongst the earliest and most potent of the innate responses to fight viral infection. The induction of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activation of transcription (JAK/STAT) signalling pathway by IFNs leads to the upregulation of hundreds of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) for which, many have the ability to rapidly kill viruses within infected cells. During the long course of evolution, viruses have evolved an extraordinary range of strategies to counteract the host immune responses in particular by targeting the JAK/STAT signalling pathway. Understanding how the IFN system is inhibited has provided critical insights into viral virulence and pathogenesis. Moreover, identification of factors encoded by viruses that modulate the JAK/STAT pathway has opened up opportunities to create new anti-viral drugs and rationally attenuated new generation vaccines, particularly for RNA viruses, by reverse genetics.