Cancer is characterized by an accumulation of genetic alterations. Somatic mutations can generate cancer-specific neoepitopes that are recognized by autologous T cells as foreign and constitute ideal cancer vaccine targets. Every tumor has its own unique composition of mutations, with only a small fraction shared between patients. Technological advances in genomics, data science, and cancer immunotherapy now enable the rapid mapping of the mutations within a genome, rational selection of vaccine targets, and on-demand production of a therapy customized to a patient's individual tumor. First-in-human clinical trials of personalized cancer vaccines have shown the feasibility, safety, and immunotherapeutic activity of targeting individual tumor mutation signatures. With vaccination development being promoted by emerging innovations of the digital age, vaccinating a patient with individual tumor mutations may become the first truly personalized treatment for cancer.
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