, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 1432-1442

Immuno-gene therapy of cancer with tumour-mRNA transfected dendritic cells

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Abstract

We have developed immuno-gene therapy for malignant melanoma and prostate cancer. The therapy is based on monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) that are transfected with autologous melanoma-mRNA or mRNA from three prostate cancer cell lines (DU-145, LN-CaP and PC-3). A broad spectrum of tumour-associated antigens will be included in both DC-vaccines. The use of autologous melanoma-mRNA moreover allows targeting of individual tumour antigens that are specific to each patient. Effective protocols have been established for mRNA-transfection by square wave electroporation and for the generation of clinical grade DCs. A full scale preclinical evaluation demonstrated in vitro T cell responses in 6/6 advanced melanoma patients. The responses were specific to antigens encoded by the transfected tumour-mRNA. Recently, we have conducted two phase I/II trials, in advanced malignant melanoma and androgen-resistant prostate cancer. Successful vaccine preparations were obtained for all 41 patients elected. No serious adverse effects were observed. Specific T cell responses (T cell proliferation and/or IFNγ ELISPOT) were demonstrated in 9/19 evaluable melanoma patients and in 12/19 prostate cancer patients. The response rates were higher for patients receiving intradermal vaccination, compared to intranodal injection. Thirteen prostate cancer patients developed a decrease in log-slope PSA. The PSA-response was significantly related to the T cell response (P=0.002). We conclude that the DC-vaccine is feasible and safe, and that T cell responses are elicited in about 50% of patients.

This article is a symposium paper from the Annual Meeting of the “International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy of Cancer”, held in Shenzhen, China, on 9–11 December 2005.