Sometimes a full-on assault is not the best approach when dealing with a powerful enemy. A more effective approach, in the long run, may be to target the support system replenishing the supplies that keep your foe strong and ready for battle. A group of researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine is pursuing this strategy by employing a novel DNA fusion vaccine – called TEM1-TT – to kill cancer, not by attacking tumor cells, but targeting the blood vessels that keep them alive. The vaccine also indirectly creates an immune response to the tumor itself, amplifying the attack by a phenomenon called epitope spreading. In mouse models of three cancer types, tumor formation was delayed or prevented in mice vaccinated with the vaccine. Specifically, they found that the mouse tumors had suppressed growth, decreased tumor vessel formation, and increased infiltration of immune cells into tumors.
- Attacking Cancer Indirectly: Penn Researchers Generate Immunity Against Tumor Vessel Protein,
Penn Medicine, News_Releases, 25.04./2014
- Full study: Tumor endothelial marker 1–specific DNA vaccination targets tumor vasculature, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Volume 124, Issue 4, doi:10.1172/JCI67382, April 1, 2014