New DNA vaccine kills cancer by targeting blood vessels
Researchers have developed a new DNA vaccine that kills cancer by not attacking the tumor cells but by targeting the blood vessels that keep them alive.
According to the study by Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine, the vaccine also indirectly creates an immune response to the tumor itself, amplifying the attack by a phenomenon called epitope spreading.
Andrea Facciabene, PhD, research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a faculty member in the Ovarian Cancer Research Center at Penn Medicine, said that they demonstrated that by targeting TEM1, their vaccine can decrease tumor vascularization, increase hypoxia of the tumor and reduce tumor growth.
The researchers found that the DNA vaccine, after killing the endothelial cells that make up the tumor vessels (vasculature), also resulted in epitope spreading, meaning that the immune cells of the mice gathered pieces of dead tumor cells (due to hypoxia) to create a secondary immune response against the tumor itself.
The study revealed that the vaccine induced specific T cells to fight other tumor cells expression other proteins, in addition to TEM1, thus increasing its therapeutic efficacy.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
(Posted on 27-04-2014)