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Title: DNA fusion vaccines against HPV16 E7 antigen-associated cancers
Author: Ruiz, Elena
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2011
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To date, the success of cancer vaccines in human clinical trials has been limited. One of the reasons for this is the immunological tolerance to tumour antigens found in cancer patients. A novel DNA fusion vaccine design which links a pathogen-derived domain (DOM) of fragment C from tetanus toxin to a peptide epitope from a tumour antigen has been developed in our laboratory. The microbial sequence is able to activate a non-tolerised pool of helper T cells, providing T-cell help for immune induction against the linked tumour-specific sequence. The main aim of this project was to produce a therapeutic DNA vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers. A number of DNA fusion vaccines against the E7 antigen from HPV16 were constructed, including pDOM.E749-57, which encodes a well described H-2Db-binding epitope from E7 fused to the DOM sequence. CD8+ T-cell responses to the vaccines were demonstrated using flow cytometry and functional assays. Importantly, these responses were stronger than those induced by a published synthetic long peptide strategy. In vivo tumour challenge experiments showed that DNA vaccines had a protective and therapeutic effect. The vaccines were then tested in transgenic mice which develop spontaneous E7-expressing tumours in a setting of tolerance. DNA vaccine-mediated E7-specific CD8 + T-cell responses were successfully induced in these mice, together with a reduction in the mass of spontaneous tumours. This is the first demonstration of pDOM-epitope DNA vaccine-mediated therapy for spontaneous tumours and bodes well for translation into the clinic. One limiting factor for DNA vaccination in humans may be the delivery system. Electroporation (EP) is one approach which may overcome this. Therefore, a secondary aim of this project was to investigate the impact of EP on immune responses to DNA vaccination in more detail. EP proved essential for generating T-cell and antibody responses to the pDOM.E7 49-57 vaccine in sub-optimal conditions. This information will be crucial for the planning of therapeutic vaccination protocols in patients.
Supervisor: Stevenson, Freda ; Rice, Jason Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR180 Immunology ; RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)