Technology Insight: vaccine therapy for prostate cancer.
The lack of effective therapies for advanced prostate cancer mandates continued development of alternative treatment strategies. Insights into the regulation of immune responses and the malignant process have facilitated the emergence of new immune-based strategies, currently under investigation in clinical trials. Like other forms of targeted therapy, cancer vaccines hold the promise of achieving cancer control without inducing overt toxicity. Many prostate cancer vaccines at different phases of development have been tested in clinical trials. Vaccination strategies under consideration include: immunization with defined antigenic preparations such as synthetic peptides, proteins or plasmid DNA; antigen-loaded dendritic cells; manipulated tumor cells; or with viral vectors engineered to express immunogenic genes. Although the underlying mechanisms of immunization may vary, all strategies share the common goal of eliciting immune responses against prostate tumor-associated antigens or of enhancing an otherwise weak antitumor response in the cancer patient. Unlocking the therapeutic potential of cancer vaccines will require a thorough understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms that modulate the immune response. In this review, we provide an overview of vaccine-based strategies for prostate cancer therapy, discuss their mechanisms of action, and provide relevant clinical trial data.
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