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Enhancing the effectiveness of cancer vaccines using linked heterologous or other foreign MHC II “helper” epitopes with or without the co-administration of agonistic anti-CD27 antibody

Value proposition

Brain tumor is one of the most feared cancers, as severe disability, including paralysis, seizure, cognition impairment, may occur. Each year, more than 79,000 new cases of brain and central nervous system tumors are diagnosed in the Untied States. In addition, brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children, comprising 15-25% of all pediatric malignancies. Conventional therapies such as surgery, chemotherapies and radiotherapies are used to treat brain tumors. However, these interventions may cause damage to healthy peritumoral tissues and can become particularly risky for tumors residing in the brain. In addition, several forms of brain tumors, such as glioblastma multiforme, are notoriously resistant to these conventional therapies: the median survival time of patients is only 14.6 months. Immunotherapy is a viable therapeutic option that can address the disadvantages of conventional therapies. Various immunotherapies interventions are developed to stimulate immune system’s response to treat cancerous cells. However, these treatments have limited anti-tumor efficacy in the brain. A technology for enhancing immune response is needed for applying immunotherapy to treat brain tumors.


Sampson lab has invented a therapeutic cancer vaccine that can increase immune response to cancerous cells in the brain. Inventors have identified peptides, short amino acid chains, expressed by the brain tumor cells and are optimal for stimulating immune response. To induce robust immune response, these peptides can be linked to a “helper” peptide which a patient has preexisting immunity. With the addition of a “helper” peptide, the inventors were able to achieve a 10-fold increase in the immune response to brain tumor cells and a significant prolonged survival in animal model. In addition, preclinical studies have demonstrated this vaccine’s benefits in boosting treatment response and extending survival when used in combination with other immunotherapy treatment.

Other applications

This invention can be developed into a therapeutic vaccine and administrated with or without anti-CD27 for other types of cancer including but not limited to colorectal cancer, metastatic melanoma, ovarian cancer, renal cell carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.


  • Preclinical studies have demonstrated this invention can effectively boost immune responses to brain tumor.
  • It is easy and cheap to mass manufacture.
  • Intervaccine variability can be well controlled.
  • The administration of the vaccine is easy (e.g. intradermal).
  • An intervention that can be administrated with or without other immunotherapy treatments.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Sampson, John
  • Riccione, Katy "Katherine"
  • Sanchez-Perez, Luis
  • Swartz, Adam "Adam"


    • Patent Number: PCT/US2018/054387
    • Country: United States of America

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School of Medicine (SOM)