December 4, 2022

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Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers



 

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers.


In recent years, with the continuous development of cancer immunotherapy, more and more research teams have begun to focus on cancer vaccines , which is a type of active immunotherapy, which uses the relevant antigens of tumor cells to awaken the body’s immune response against cancer.

At present, some of the cancer vaccines we know are preventive vaccines, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer; and for a world where cancer is still talked about today, therapeutic cancer vaccines are the ultimate dream of scientists.

 

Professor Arjan Griffioen of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has long been working on developing cancer vaccines.

As early as 2006, his team discovered that a protein called Vimentin is closely related to the malignant degree of tumor cells.

 

Vimentin is the most important type of intermediate fibrin, an important skeletal protein connecting the cell membrane and nucleus.

The team found that vimentin is present in the blood that nourishes tumors and is overexpressed in tumor blood vessels.

Further research showed that vimentin helps create new blood vessels to allow tumors to thrive, and at the same time, it shuts down the immune system.

 

Subsequently, Professor Arjan Griffioen devised a strategy aimed at blocking the production of vimentin in tumors by combining self-antigens with engineered bacterial proteins for immunization.

The cancer vaccine, named after Griffioen, showed favorable immune responses in mouse models of skin, brain and rectal cancers.

Animal experiments have shown that the Griffioen vaccine extends the lifespan of animals by an average of one year, the treatment is more effective and cheaper than existing immunotherapy, and has few side effects.

 

On May 23, 2022, Professor Arjan Griffioen ‘s team published a new research paper titled: Extracellular vimentin mimics VEGF and is a target for anti-angiogenic immunotherapy in Nature Communications .

They further confirmed that vimentin is a vascular immune checkpoint. molecules, targeting the protein could provide a “double-edged sword” effect .

 

In addition, they have successfully cured elderly pet dogs with cancer using the Griffioen cancer vaccine.

 

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

 

 

In the new study, the research team once again demonstrated that tumor endothelial cells externalize vimentin to promote angiogenesis, while shielding blood vessels from interaction with leukocytes, thereby evading immune responses.

Importantly, both passive and active antibody immunotherapies targeting extracellular vimentin have been shown to specifically and safely inhibit tumor vascularization and tumor growth.

This has been demonstrated in several preclinical model experiments.

 

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

 

 

In the new experiment, the research team treated 35 pet dogs with spontaneous transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder with the Griffioen vaccine.

Half of the dogs were still alive after 400 days of treatment, and two others had fully recovered.

 

In addition, they treated a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rax. It has osteosarcoma, has a poor prognosis, and is nearing the end of its lifespan.

 

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

 

Osteosarcoma is a primary malignant bone tumor. Although chemotherapy is available, life expectancy after treatment also tends to be short.

While there has been a lot of research on adjuvant therapy for osteosarcoma over the past few decades, little progress has been made in extending life.

There are many similarities in how osteosarcoma grows and behaves in dogs and humans. Therefore, new therapeutic studies for this type of tumor are warranted.

 

Rax becomes the first osteosarcoma patient (dog) to be vaccinated against Griffioen .

After more than three months of treatment, the tumor disappeared and Rax appeared to be back to normal.

 

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

 

The researchers say that while monoclonal antibodies have become an important tumor therapy, a polyclonal response induced by vaccination may be more effective.

Because the broader polyclonal reactivity can better block the extracellular function of vimentin, it can also induce antibody and complement-dependent cytotoxicity more effectively, and enhance antitumor immunity while damaging tumor blood vessels.

 

 

As of now, the known side effects of vaccination mainly occur at the injection site, and animals may also experience discomfort or fever, but these symptoms will disappear on their own after 3 to 5 days. Therefore, this cancer vaccine is safe.

 

Taken together, this study uncovers a critical role for vimentin in cancer biology.

These data suggest that extracellular vimentin is a vascular immune checkpoint molecule, and targeting this biomarker provides a “double-edged sword” in cancer therapy, both relieving immunosuppression and inhibiting tumor angiogenesis .

 

The team hopes to treat more dogs with the same aggressive tumors with the cancer vaccine, and says the findings will help develop a cancer vaccine that works in humans as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-30063-7

Cancer vaccine targeting this protein can treat a variety of cancers

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