Research ArticleCancer

Vaccination during myeloid cell depletion by cancer chemotherapy fosters robust T cell responses

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Science Translational Medicine  13 Apr 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 334, pp. 334ra52
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad8307

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Vaccinating cancer away

Cervical cancer, a common killer of women worldwide, is most often caused by human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16). Although a vaccine targeting this virus is available and very effective at preventing cervical cancer, it does not work once cancer is already established, and advanced cervical cancer is very difficult to treat. Welters et al. have developed a method of therapeutic vaccination, where they synthesize long peptides mimicking key oncogenic proteins from HPV16 and use them to treat patients. Although it is too early to tell how the new vaccine will affect patient survival, combining it with chemotherapy helped strengthen patients’ immune responses against the cancer, so it is a promising candidate for further clinical development.