Aim: The efficacy of anti-lymphoma vaccines that exploit the cellular adjuvant properties of activated natural killer T (NKT) cells were examined in mouse models of CNS lymphoma. Materials & methods: Vaccines were prepared by either loading the NKT cell agonist, α-galactosylceramide onto irradiated and heat-shocked B- and T-lymphoma cells, or chemically conjugating α-galactosylceramide to MHC-binding peptides from a lymphoma-associated antigen. Vaccine efficacy was analyzed in mice bearing intracranial tumors. Results: Both forms of vaccine proved to be effective in preventing lymphoma engraftment through activity of T cells that accessed the CNS. Established lymphoma was harder to treat with responses constrained by Tregs, but this could be overcome by depleting Tregs prior to vaccination. Conclusion: Simply designed NKT cell-activating vaccines enhance T-cell responses and have the potential to protect against CNS lymphoma development or prevent CNS relapse. To be effective against established CNS lymphoma, vaccines need to be combined with Treg suppression.
Keywords: CNS; NKT; immunotherapy; lymphoma; α-galactosylceramide.