We have found that apoptotic tumor cells cross-presented ("fed") to a patients' DCs, elicit potent PND antigen-specific killer T cell responses Albert ML, Darnell JC, Bender A, Francisco LM, Bhardwaj N, Darnell RB. Nat Med. 1998 Nov; 4(11):1321-4. These responses correlate with the successful tumor immunity evident in these patients. We continue to actively enroll patients with PND into clinical studies at the RU Hospital, both in order to better understand the nature of the disorder (clinical trials), and, where appropriate, to consider new therapeutic options.
We have therefore undertaken pre-clinical studies (Orange DE, Jegathesan M, Blachere NE, Frank MO, Scher HI, Albert ML and Darnell RB. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis., 7:63-72, 2004) and subsequently opened clinical trials designed to recapitulate such tumor immune responses in the general population of cancer patients.
Our initial studies have been aimed at testing the safety and immunogenicity of this strategy in cancers that are not associated with autoimmunity. We are currently generating vaccines for prostate cancer patients based on the knowledge gained from our studies. This vaccine consists of autologous (patients' own) DCs that have been "fed" apoptotic (dead) prostate tumor cells.