Methods in Molecular Medicine™ Volume 29, 2000, pp 221-239

Cytokine Fusion Constructs as DNA Vaccines Against Tumors

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Abstract

Various studies have used DNA vaccination as a method of immunizing against tumors (112). As with any tumor vaccine, one challenge is to find a truly tumor-specific antigen (13,14). The majority of immunologically targeted tumor antigens are also expressed on a subset of normal host cells. Examples of such antigens include prostate-specific antigen, and CD20, a B cell marker. Some tumor antigens are specific for activated cells of certain types, such as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) or the IL-2 receptor. These are often found on embryonic or fetal cells as well as tumor cells. The carbohydrate antigens of melanomas and the immunoglobulin (Ig) idiotype of B cell lymphomas represent tumor-specific antigens (TSA). Unfortunately, TSA have not been identified in more common malignancies. Furthermore, the antigenic determinants of known TSA may differ between patients; for example, the tumor idiotype (Id) of B cell lymphoma is highly patient-specific and must be determined for each case.