We have constructed a plasmid DNA encoding the full-length complementary DNA for human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) under transcriptional regulatory control of the cytomegalovirus early promoter/enhancer (pCEA) and demonstrated that this plasmid can function as a polynucleotide vaccine to elicit a CEA-specific immune response. This immune response protects against tumor challenge with syngeneic CEA-transduced colon carcinoma cells in mice. In the present work, the pCEA construct and purification method were modified to eliminate nonessential viral sequences, the ampicillin selectable marker, mutagens, and endotoxin to produce a reagent suitable for human clinical trials. The human use plasmid (pGT37) directs CEA expression at levels comparable with the original pCEA plasmid and can be propagated to yield large quantities of plasmid DNA based on kanamycin selection. A simple extraction technique greatly reduces contamination by endotoxin. Six weekly intramuscular injections of pGT37 elicited CEA-specific lymphoblastic transformation and antibody response in five of five mice and fully protected 10 of 10 mice against tumor challenge with syngeneic CEA-expressing colon cancer cells 42 days from the first plasmid injection. Thus, pGT37 encoding a tumor-associated antigen (CEA) has been shown to elicit cellular and humoral immune responses and mediate antitumor effects in vivo. This plasmid is suitable for human use and can be easily propagated in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995


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