Designing therapeutic cancer vaccines by mimicking viral infections

Hussein Sultan, Valentyna I. Fesenkova, Diane Addis, Aaron E. Fan, Takumi Kumai, Juan Wu, Andres M. Salazar, Esteban Celis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The design of efficacious and cost-effective therapeutic vaccines against cancer remains both a research priority and a challenge. For more than a decade, our laboratory has been involved in the development of synthetic peptide-based anti-cancer therapeutic vaccines. We first dedicated our efforts in the identification and validation of peptide epitopes for both CD8 and CD4 T cells from tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). Because of suboptimal immune responses and lack of therapeutic benefit of peptide vaccines containing these epitopes, we have focused our recent efforts in optimizing peptide vaccinations in mouse tumor models using numerous TAA epitopes. In this focused research review, we describe how after taking lessons from the immune system’s way of dealing with acute viral infections, we have designed peptide vaccination strategies capable of generating very high numbers of therapeutically effective CD8 T cells. We also discuss some of the remaining challenges to translate these findings into the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • PIVAC 15
  • Peptide vaccines
  • Poly-IC
  • T cell epitopes
  • Type-I interferon


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing therapeutic cancer vaccines by mimicking viral infections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this