First Steps Toward Breast Cancer Vaccine Using HER-2 Mimotope

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Josef Singer MD, PhD Comparative Medicine Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine Medical University Vienna University Vienna, Austria & Department for Comparative Immunology and Oncology Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research Medical University Department of Internal Medicine II University Hospital Krems Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences Krems, Austria

Dr. Josef Singer

Josef Singer MD, PhD Comparative Medicine
Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine
Medical University Vienna
University Vienna, Austria & Department for Comparative Immunology and Oncology Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research Medical University
Department of Internal Medicine II University Hospital Krems Karl Landsteiner
University of Health Sciences Krems, Austria 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Immunotherapy of cancer has gained increasing interest in treatment of oncologic patients. Especially passive immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies against tumor-associated antigens has been very successful due to good response rates with relatively moderate side effects compared to conventional chemotherapy.

Trastuzumab, an antibody against the human epidermal growth-factor receptor-2 (HER-2), is widely applied for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Trastuzumab leads to longer progression-free and overall survival in patients with HER-2 positive disease. However, monoclonal antibody therapies have to be repetitively applied, which represents a risk for infusion-related side effects and, due to the high costs, a massive burden for social security systems.

Our aim was to replace the passive immunotherapy by a vaccine actively inducing patients´ own antibodies with the same specificity as trastuzumab. A novel mimotope library platform enabled the development of a HER2-specific cancer vaccine: Mimotopes are small peptides that are able to mimic antibody epitopes on tumor-associated antigens, in our case the trastuzumab antigen on HER-2.

We use Adeno-associated-viruses (AAV) as carriers for our HER2 vaccine as they are highly immunogenic and safe. We could demonstrate that this HER-2 mimotope AAV-vaccine induced antibodies against human HER- 2 similar to the clinically used trastuzumab. In a mouse tumor model the HER-2 mimotope AAV vaccine was able to delay the growth of tumors significantly.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This novel AAV-based mimotope library could be an important tool to establish active immunotherapies against cancer in clinical oncology, as it is a straight forward approach to design novel cancer vaccines.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: A translation of the HER-2 mimotope AAV vaccine into human patients is the next urgent step. However, this novel approach to generate cancer vaccines is applicable for many other tumor-associated antigens, e.g. EGFR or CEA.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Josef Singer, Krisztina Manzano-Szalai, Judit Fazekas, Kathrin Thell, Anna Bentley-Lukschal, Caroline Stremnitzer, Franziska Roth-Walter, Margit Weghofer, Mirko Ritter, Kerstin Pino Tossi, Markus Hörer, Uwe Michaelis, Erika Jensen-Jarolim. Proof of concept study with an HER-2 mimotope anticancer vaccine deduced from a novel AAV-mimotope library platform. OncoImmunology, 2016; 5 (7): e1171446 DOI: 10.1080/2162402X.2016.1171446

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