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New vaccination therapies for lung cancer

Final Report Summary - LCVAC (New vaccination therapies for lung cancer)

The ultimate aim of the LCVAC project was to identify and characterise novel lung cancer specific antigens, characterise human lung cancer cell lines, as well as develop an efficient and safe vaccination protocol. The objective was to establish a pre-clinical dossier for the novel antigens and cell lines to prove the applicability in lung cancer immunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies against these cancer specific antigens would be used as a specific marker and would be also developed as a diagnostic tool for the detection and specification of lung cancer types.

The main areas of focus of the project were the following:
- identification, characterisation and production of antigenic materials such as tumour antigens and recombinant protein antigens;
- development and testing of adjuvants and adjuvant technologies for the vaccination protocols to stimulate specific cellular and humoral immune responses to tumour antigens;
- development of a lung cancer mouse model for the functional characterisation of antigen and adjuvant combinations and of cell-based lung cancer vaccines

The project succeeded in establishing research procedures and reagents, identify and validate novel lung cancer antigens, namely produce antigen at a research and development (R&D) scale and develop tools for immunological evaluation of the antigen . It also sought to protect the antigen patent. The investigation of the best practice to challenge mice with neural cell adhesion molecule DNA (NCAM-DNA) transfected murine tumour cells was delayed, however it was completely compensated by the discovery and validation of NCAM-MUM splice variant that was shown to be a small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)-specific antigen and potential target for the vaccine development programme. Nonetheless, the project failed to generate and characterise human lung cancer cell lines from tumour tissue, select lung cancer cell lines and antigen for clinical studies and to file new patent for adjuvant technologies.

In order to maximise the scientific and commercial potential of the research results, the knowledge dissemination was achieved by intermediate scientific meetings, a seminar organised at the end of the project and peer reviewed articles in high-ranking journals.

Regarding the Intellectual property rights (IPR), for the NCAM-MUM a patent was filed, whereas for other molecules which were delivered in the proteomics studies, they were evaluated as potential lung cancer specific antigens.