PANVAC is a cancer vaccine therapy delivered through two viral vectors--recombinant vaccinia and recombinant fowlpox--which are given sequentially. Both vectors contain transgenes for the tumor-associated antigens epithelial mucin 1 and carcinoembryonic antigen, which are altered or overexpressed in most carcinomas. The vectors also contain transgenes for three human T cell costimulatory molecules required to enhance immune response: B7.1, intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and leukocyte function-associated antigen-3. PANVAC is injected subcutaneously and processed by the body's antigen-presenting cells. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of PANVAC in inducing both carcinoembryonic antigen- and mucin 1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in vitro and in murine models. Other strategies that enhance the immune response include the use of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and a prime-boost administration sequence. Clinical trials have demonstrated PANVAC's safety and its ability to induce antigen-specific T cell responses. Early clinical trials are evaluating PANVAC alone and in combination with conventional chemotherapy and/or radiation. Studies to date hold promise for the use of PANVAC as a means to stimulate the immune system against malignancies and to provide clinical benefit.