In the last decade, immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies targeting immunological check points has become a breakthrough therapeutic modality for solid cancers. However, only up to 50 % of patients benefit from this powerful approach. For others vaccination might provide a plausible addition or alternative. For induction of effective anticancer immunity CD4+ T cell help is required, which is often difficult to induce to self cancer targets because of tolerogenic mechanisms. Our approach for cancer vaccines has been to incorporate into the vaccine design sequences able to activate foreign T cell help, through genetically linking cancer targets to microbial sequences (King et al. in Nat Med 4(11):1281-1286, 1998; Savelyeva et al. in Nat Biotechnol 19(8):760-764, 2001). This harnesses the non-tolerized CD4 T cell repertoire available in patients to help induction of effective immunity against fused cancer antigens. Multiple immune effector mechanisms including antibody, CD8+ T cells as well as CD4 effector T cells can be activated using this strategy. Delivery via DNA vaccines has already indicated clinical efficacy. The same principle of linked T cell help has now been transferred to other novel vaccine modalities to further potentiate immunity against cancer targets.
Linked CD4 T Cell Help: Broadening Immune Attack Against Cancer by Vaccination.