Personalized melanoma vaccines

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Science  25 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6353, pp. 769-770
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6353.769-b

Two separate clinical trials show that personalized vaccines can prevent tumor relapse in certain patients with advanced-stage melanoma. The studies used RNA or DNA sequencing to identify new mutations, termed neoantigens, that were specific to melanoma cells and absent in healthy cells. A computer algorithm helped the researchers predict which neoantigens were likely the best targets for each patient. Tailored vaccines were then generated, made up of synthetic forms of the specific neoantigens in the patients' melanoma. Such personalized vaccines efficiently trained the immune system to unleash T cells to selectively kill tumors and reduce the spread of cancer. Sahin et al. observed favorable responses in 8 of 13 patients for nearly 2 years after vaccination, whereas Ott et al. found that four of six patients remained tumor-free up to 32 months.

Nature 10.1038/nature23003, 10.1038/nature22991 (2017).

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