Trial watch: Naked and vectored DNA-based anticancer vaccines
One type of anticancer vaccine relies on the administration of DNA constructs encoding one or multiple tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). The ultimate objective of these preparations, which can be naked or vectored by non-pathogenic viruses, bacteria or yeast cells, is to drive the synthesis of TAAs in the context of an immunostimulatory milieu, resulting in the (re-)elicitation of a tumor-targeting immune response. In spite of encouraging preclinical results, the clinical efficacy of DNA-based vaccines employed as standalone immunotherapeutic interventions in cancer patients appears to be limited. Thus, efforts are currently being devoted to the development of combinatorial regimens that allow DNA-based anticancer vaccines to elicit clinically relevant immune responses. Here, we discuss recent advances in the preclinical and clinical development of this therapeutic paradigm.