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Vaccine. 2011 Aug 11;29(35):5904-10. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.06.070. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Tumor-specific peptide-based vaccines containing the conformationally biased, response-selective C5a agonists EP54 and EP67 protect against aggressive large B cell lymphoma in a syngeneic murine model.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986395 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-6395, United States.


Vaccines to large B cell lymphoma were made by the covalent attachment of an epitope from the gp70 glycoprotein (SSWDFITV) to the N-termini of the conformationally biased, response-selective C5a agonists EP54 (YSFKPMPLaR) and EP67 (YSFKDMP(MeL)aR). Syngeneic Balb/c mice were immunized with these EP54/EP67-containing vaccines and challenged with a lethal dose of the highly liver metastatic and gp70-expressing lymphoma cell line RAW117-H10 to evaluate the ability of these vaccines to induce protective immune outcomes. All mice immunized with SSWDFITVRRYSFKPMPLaR (Vaccine 2) and SSWDFITVRRYSFKDMP(MeL)aR (Vaccine 3) were protected to a lethal challenge of RAW117-H10 lymphoma (>170 days survival) and exhibited no lymphoma infiltration or solid tumor nodules in the liver relative to unvaccinated controls (<18 days survival). Vaccines 2 and 3 contained the protease-sensitive double-Arg (RR) linker sequence between the epitope and the EP54/EP67 moieties in order to provide a site for intracellular proteases to separate the epitope from the EP54/EP67 moieties once internalized by the APC and, consequently, enhance epitope presentation in the context of MHC I/II. These protected mice exhibited an immune outcome consistent with increased involvement of CD8(+) and/or CD4(+) T lymphocytes relative to controls and mice that did not survive or showed low survival rates as with Vaccines 1 and 4, which lacked the RR linker sequence. CD8(+) T lymphocytes activated in response to Vaccines 2 and 3 express cytotoxic specificity for gp70-expressing RAW117-H10 lymphoma cells, but not antigen-irrelevant MDA-MB231A human breast cancer cells. Results are discussed against the backdrop of the ability of EP54/EP67 to selectively target antigens to and activate C5a receptor-bearing antigen presenting cells and the prospects of using such vaccines therapeutically against lymphoma and other cancers.

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