Hybrid cell vaccination is a new cancer immune therapy approach that aims at recruiting T cell help for the induction of tumour specific cytolytic immunity. The vaccines are generated by fusion of the patients' tumour cells with allogeneic MHC class II bearing cells to combine the tumour's antigenicity with the immunogenicity of allogeneic MHC molecules. Safety and anti-tumour activity of this treatment were assessed in a clinical trial that has yielded one complete and one partial remission, and 5 cases of stable disease among 16 patients with advanced stage metastatic melanoma. As evidenced by histology, the vaccination induced T cell relocation into tumour nodules. Stable disease could be maintained by repeated booster injections for more than 24 months in some patients. The side effects were minor. Occasional occurrences of vitiligo spots after vaccination were indicative of a restricted therapy induced auto-immune reactivity. The results suggest that hybrid cell vaccination is a safe cancer immune therapy potentially effective for induction of acute anti-tumour response as well as long-term maintenance.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.