28 Apr 2021
Archivum immunologiae et therapiae experimentalis;
In this communication, we will analyze some important factors and immunological phenomena related to neoantigen cancer vaccines, with particular emphasis on recently published Phase I clinical trials. Several obstacles and issues are addressed that challenge the current paradigm and inquire if neoantigens, which are essentially single-use vaccine candidates, are legitimate targets to induce protective immune responses with regard to the evolving mutational landscape. We also share insights into the striking similarities between cancer and antigenically variable pathogens and suggest that any successful vaccine against either should demonstrate a similar property: efficient induction of a diverse pool of immune cells equipped to prevent immune escape. Hence, to confront antigenic variability directly, we have employed our innovative vaccine concept, Variable Epitope Libraries, composed of large combinatorial libraries of heavily mutated epitopes, as a "universal" vaccine platform. Collectively, we offer critical analyses on key issues, which ultimately reflect on the prospective clinical relevance of personalized neoantigen vaccines which is still undefined.