Personalized Cancer Vaccines Demonstrate Potential in Melanoma Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A pair of new studies is pointing to the potential of personalized anti-cancer vaccine strategies in individuals with advanced melanoma.

For one of the studies, appearing online today in Nature, a German-led team that included investigators from the biotechnology company BioNTech used a combination of comparative exome sequencing and RNA sequencing to profile mutation patterns and predict neoantigens in tumor samples from more than a dozen individuals with stage III or stage IV melanoma. Using its pipeline for mutation detection, neo-epitope prediction, and prioritization, the group translated the results into personalized vaccines targeting a subset of each individual’s tumor mutations.

With these so-called mutanome vaccines, they saw a range of T cell-mediated responses in the melanoma patients — including a significant dip in metastases and complete response in a small subset of patients treated with vaccination alone or in combination with checkpoint blockade chemotherapy.

The eight individuals who did have detectable tumor lesions at the time of vaccination did not experience disease recurrence over one to two years of follow up, the researchers reported. For the five patients with relapsed metastatic disease at vaccination, meanwhile, they saw objective responses in two individuals, while another patient responded

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