Introduction: The recent approval of the first therapeutic cancer vaccine by the US Regulatory Agency represents a breakthrough event in the history of cancer treatment. The past scepticism towards this type of therapeutic intervention is now replaced by great expectations. The field is now moving towards the development of alternative vaccination technologies, which are capable of generating stronger, more durable and efficient immune responses against specific tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) in combination with cheaper and more standardised manufacturing.
Areas covered: In this context, genetic vaccines are emerging among the most promising methodologies. Several evidences point to combinations of different genetic immunisation modalities (heterologous prime/boost) as a powerful approach to induce superior immune responses and achieve greater clinical efficacy. In this review, we provide an overview of the current status of development of genetic cancer vaccines with particular emphasis on adenoviral vector prime/DNA boost vaccination schedules.
Expert opinion: We believe that therapeutic genetic cancer vaccines have the strong potential to become an established therapeutic modality for cancer in next coming years, in a manner similar to what have now become monoclonal antibodies.