The exciting world of cancer vaccine development–my experience

In R&D by Maria RelakiLeave a Comment

Cancer vaccineIt has been a while since I last posted on here, but I promise I will be more vocal over the next few months.

The reason why I have been a bit quiet is that we are feverishly working on putting together an amazing program for the 2013 World Vaccine Congress & Expo Washington. We have changed the event significantly, both in terms of duration, content and layout taking all your feedback from this year on board. I have been speaking to key industry leaders and will be bringing you my thoughts on the topics I am looking into for 2013. At this stage the agenda is almost 80% ready and I can't wait to share it with you, but more on that later – stay tuned.

Today I had the chance to speak with one of the leading scientist in the field of cancer and HIV vaccine development (allow me to keep the name under wraps until we officially announce the program next week). It is hard to convince someone to share their work and experience by asking them to deliver only a 25 minute talk at the Congress. There is some really interesting things going on in this space and more specifically in discovering new basic principles that will aid vaccine development. The group is looking at various aspects of T-Cell activation, regulation, and effector function, and employing these to develop more effective vaccine and immunotherapy strategies for HIV, cancer, and viruses causing cancer. But what are the necessary steps to make up this approach? Simply put, the development process could follow the following steps:

  • optimizing the antigen to improve immunogenicity
  • pushing the response with molecular adjuvants
  • targeting the immune response to the relevant tissue (eg mucosa for HIV)

We'll have to stay tuned on this one and keep ourselves informed about the process as it reaches human clinical trials soon. More on this at the World Vaccine Congress 2013 next April!

If you would like to help me further my research into this topic, please feel free to suggest areas of interest in the comments below. My main questions are:

  • What are the most common key challenges for cancer vaccine development at the moment?
  • It seems that certain cancer areas have more development than others (see cervical and prostate), why?
  • Since 2006 only 3 cancer vaccines have been approved. will we see a surge in the next few years?
  • What is the next big field of research that will grab the spotlight in cancer vaccines?

 

For more info on the Congress got to: www.terrapinn.com/vaccinecongress

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