A single chemical structure that incorporates three vaccine components could prove powerful in treating cancer, according to a paper in the October 2007 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. Sugars are often highly expressed on the outside of cancer cells, and eliciting an immune response to these sugars could be an important vaccine strategy.
Previous attempts to develop anticancer vaccines against these overexpressed sugars have involved 'two-component' vaccines, which combine molecules that can induce antibody production by two different routes into a single chemical entity. However, these vaccines require very high levels of adjuvants-- additional chemicals that are used to boost the immune response being elicited by the vaccine.
Geert-Jan Boons and colleagues have now developed a 'three-component' vaccine that chemically links the adjuvant to two other vaccine components. Chemically connecting these three vaccine pieces proved to be exceptionally powerful in inducing an immune response in mice. This vaccine strategy can now be tested for its ability to combat cancer, and the three-component approach could be applied to other vaccine targets.
Geert-Jan Boons (University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Chemical Biology press release.
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