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Chem Commun (Camb). 2009 Sep 28;(36):5335-49. doi: 10.1039/b908664c. Epub 2009 Jul 22.

Immunotherapy for cancer: synthetic carbohydrate-based vaccines.

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  • 1Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, 315 Riverbend Road, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Aberrant glycosylation of glycoproteins and glycolipids of cancer cells, which correlates with poor survival rates, is being exploited for the development of immunotherapies for cancer. In particular, advances in the knowledge of cooperation between the innate and adaptive system combined with the implementation of efficient synthetic methods for assembly of oligosaccharides and glycopeptides is providing avenues for the rationale design of vaccine candidates. In this respect, fully synthetic vaccine candidates show great promise because they incorporate only those elements requires for relevant immune responses, and hence do not suffer from immune suppression observed with classical carbohydrate-protein conjugate vaccines. Such vaccines are chemically well-defined and it is to be expected that they can be produced in a reproducible fashion. In this feature article, recent advances in the development of fully synthetic sub-unit carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines will be discussed.

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