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Vaccine. 2005 Jan 4;23(7):884-9.

Lack of toxicity of therapy-induced T cell responses against the universal tumour antigen survivin.

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Department of Dermatology and Venerology, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 2, Building 13, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Prognosis of disseminated melanoma remains gloomy as neither chemotherapeutic nor unspecific immune modulatory approaches were able to improve the overall survival of these patients. Hence, specific immunotherapy has received increasing attention. Disappointing clinical results, however, indicate that the choice of suitable antigens is of special importance. To this end, the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein survivin, which is over-expressed in several tumours but is largely undetectable in adult tissues, appears to be a promising target for vaccination purposes, since down-regulation or loss of expression is associated with impaired tumour progression. Consequently, five heavily pretreated stage IV melanoma patients were vaccinated with the HLA-A2 restricted survivin(96-104) epitope presented by autologous dendritic cells (DCs) in a compassionate use setting. Four of these patients mounted strong T cell responses to this epitope as measured by ELISPOT assay. Furthermore, in situ peptide/HLA-A2 multimer staining confirmed that these survivin reactive cells infiltrated both visceral and soft tissue metastases.

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