Development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine based on  p16INK4a

For the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines, tumor antigens need to be identified that are either specific or aberrantly expressed in tumor cells compared to normal cells. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16INK4a is strongly overexpressed in human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced cancers, whereas it is barely detectable in normal tissue.

In a phase I/IIa trial to monitor toxicity and immunogenicity of a p16INK4a peptide vaccine in patients with advanced HPV-associated, p16INK4a-overexpressing cancers, we could show the induction of a humoral and cellular immune response against p16INK4a without any severe vaccine-related side effects.

The generation an effective tumor response against p16INK4a could lead to a new therapeutic approach for HPV-induced cancers.

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