Peptide Knowledge Center

What is a cancer vaccine?

Cancer vaccine is one of the latest treatment methods in cancer immunotherapy. It can identify the proteins present on specific cancer cells, prevent the growth of cancer cells, prevent cancer recurrence, and remove residual cancer cells after treatment.

Because whether used to prevent infectious diseases or prevent and treat cancer, vaccines can work through a similar mechanism: they teach the immune system to recognize infectious pathogens or cancer cells as foreign substances that need to be eliminated. There are special proteins on the surface of cancer cells. By targeting these proteins, the immune system can specifically eliminate cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Compared with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, cancer vaccines usually do not produce serious side effects. Unlike chemotherapy and radiotherapy that directly kill tumor cells and normal rapidly dividing cells in the body, cancer vaccines can be used to treat "cold" tumors that are not immunogenic. It induces an immune response, which may turn it into a "hot" tumor suitable for checkpoint lockout therapy.

In view of these characteristics, cancer vaccines provide cancer patients with a more targeted and gentler method of cancer treatment. This method is much less harmful to the body, and patients hope to obtain a better quality of life.

Common tumor antigens and neoantigens

Ten years ago, cancer vaccines were all focused on "shared" tumor antigens. Researchers jointly developed a list of the best types of tumor antigens, low glycosylation MUC1, Wnt1, HER2, MART1, gp100 and tyrosinase. Many of these have shown encouraging early results, but there are still others approved by the FDA.

In the past 5 years or so, studies have discovered new antigens. These new antigens are antigens generated by point mutations, insertions, deletions or translocations. Because they are new amino acid sequences that only exist in tumors and not in normal cells, By identifying such new epitopes in each patient’s cancer, it is possible to synthesize a personalized vaccine to treat their cancer, which is equivalent to tailor-made, more accurate anti-tumor effects, and better results.

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Types of cancer vaccines