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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2004 Feb;53(2):92-9. Epub 2003 Oct 18.

Immunization with a plant-produced colorectal cancer antigen.

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Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories, Thomas Jefferson University, Room M85, 1020 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Cancer vaccination has become an important focus of oncology in recent years. Active immunization with tumor-associated antigens such as colorectal cancer antigen GA733-2 is thought to potentially overcome the reoccurrence of metastasis. As recombinant protein production in bioreactors is costly and subject to growing safety concerns, we tested plants as an alternative for the expression of a potential colorectal cancer vaccine. Comparing colorectal cancer antigen GA733-2 produced in tobacco plants with the same antigen produced in insect cell culture, we found a similar humoral immune response to injection of either of the two antigen preparations into mice. Some minor differences were observed in the cellular response that might be due to impurities. Our studies compare for the first time, immunization with the same antigen expressed in either plants or insect cell culture. This will provide important data for use of plants as production systems of therapeutics.

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