, Volume 64, Issue 18, pp 2391-2403
Date: 14 Jun 2007

Towards progress on DNA vaccines for cancer

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Cancer immunotherapy faces many obstacles that include eliciting immune reactions to self antigens as well as overcoming tumor-derived immunosuppressive networks and evasion tactics. Within the vaccine arsenal for inhibiting cancer proliferation, plasmid DNA represents a novel immunization strategy that is capable of eliciting both humoral and cellular arms of the immune response in addition to being safely administered and easily engineered and manufactured. Unfortunately, while DNA vaccines have performed well in preventing and treating malignancies in animal models, their overall application in human clinical trials has not impacted cancer regression to date. Since the establishment of these early trials, progress has been made in terms of increasing DNA vaccine immunogenicity and subverting the suppressive properties of tumor cells. Therefore, the success of future plasmid DNA use in cancer patients will depend on combinatorial strategies that enhance and direct the DNA vaccine immune response while also targeting tumor evasion mechanisms.

Received 2 April 2007; received after revision 14 May 2007; accepted 21 May 2007