Peptide based vaccine design for cancer immunotherapy is currently being used in clinical trials for malignant melanoma with much success. Administration of synthetic peptides derived from proteins overexpressed in tumour cells (tumour-associated antigens) can elicit tumour-specific CD8+ T cell responses in vitro and in vivo. Currently, a number of tumour antigens from overexpressed cancer proteins such as mucin 1 (MUC1), survivin, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and HER- 2 / neu are examples of cancers whereby peptide based vaccinations are being tested for potential immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss some examples of the work being investigated with these cancer proteins, limitations to this therapy and suggestions of future directions to improve the efficacy of this treatment.
Keywords: peptide, cancer immunotherapy, tumour associated antigens, cytotoxic t cells, muc1
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