Vaccine therapy for pancreatic cancer


Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease and currently available therapies have significant limitations. Pancreatic cancer is thus an ideal setting for the development of novel treatment modalities such as immunotherapy. However, relevant obstacles must be overcome for immunotherapeutic regimens against pancreatic cancer to be successful. Vaccine therapy relies on the administration of biological preparations that include an antigen that (at least ideally) is specifically expressed by malignant cells, boosting the natural ability of the immune system to react against neoplastic cells. There are a number of ways to deliver anticancer vaccines. Potent vaccines stimulate antigen presentation by dendritic cells, hence driving the expansion of antigen-specific effector and memory T cells. Unlike vaccines given as a prophylaxis against infectious diseases, anticancer vaccines require the concurrent administration of agents that interfere with the natural predisposition of tumors to drive immunosuppression. The safety and efficacy of vaccines against pancreatic cancer are nowadays being tested in early phase clinical trials.

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Vaccine therapy for pancreatic cancer