DepoVax™ is an innovative and strongly immunogenic vaccine platform. Survivin is highly expressed in many tumor types and has reported prognostic value. To generate tumor-specific immune response, a novel cancer vaccine was formulated in DepoVax platform (DPX-Survivac) using survivin HLA class I peptides. Safety and immune potency of DPX-Survivac was tested in combination with immune-modulator metronomic cyclophosphamide in ovarian cancer patients. All the patients receiving the therapy produced antigen-specific immune responses; higher dose vaccine and cyclophosphamide treatment generating significantly higher magnitude responses. Strong T cell responses were associated with differentiation of naïve T cells into central/effector memory (CM/EM) and late differentiated (LD) polyfunctional antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. This approach enabled rapid de novo activation/expansion of vaccine antigen-specific CD8+ T cells and provided a strong rationale for further testing to determine clinical benefits associated with this immune activation. These data represent vaccine-induced T cell activation in a clinical setting to a self-tumor antigen previously described only in animal models.
Keywords: DepoVax; T cells; cancer; immunotherapy; survivin.