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Cancer Res. 2001 Jan 1;61(1):206-14.

Granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor produced by recombinant avian poxviruses enriches the regional lymph nodes with antigen-presenting cells and acts as an immunoadjuvant.

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  • 1Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Recombinant avian poxviruses [fowlpox and canarypox (ALVAC)], restricted for replication in nonavian cell substrates and expressing granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor (avipox-GM-CSF), were evaluated for their ability to enrich an immunization site with antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and, in turn, function as biological vaccine adjuvants. Avipox-GM-CSF administered as a single s.c. injection significantly enhanced the percentage and absolute number of APCs in the regional lymph nodes that drain the injection site. Both the magnitude and duration of the cellular and phenotypic increases within the lymph nodes induced by the avipox-GM-CSF viruses were significantly (P < 0.05) greater than those measured in mice treated with four daily injections of recombinant GM-CSF protein. Temporal studies revealed that the APC enrichment of regional lymph nodes was sustained for 21-28 days after injection of the recombinant avipox virus expressing GM-CSF and, moreover, three injections of the recombinant virus could be given without any appreciable loss of in vivo bioactivity. Mice expressing human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) as a transgene (CEA.Tg) developed CEA-specific humoral and cell-mediated immunity after being immunized with avipox-CEA. The coadministration of recombinant avipox viruses expressing CEA and GM-CSF significantly enhanced CEA-specific host immunity with an accompanying immunotherapeutic response in tumor-bearing CEA.Tg mice. The optimal use of avipox-GM-CSF, in terms of dose and dose schedule, especially when used with different immunogens, remains to be determined. Nonetheless, the present findings demonstrate: (a) the effective delivery of GM-CSF to an immunization site using a recombinant avian poxvirus; (b) the compatibility of delivering an antigen and GM-CSF in replication-defective viruses to enhance antigen-specific immunity; and (c) the combined use of recombinant avipox viruses expressing CEA and GM-CSF to generate antitumor immunity directed at a self tumor antigen.

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