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Reuters Health Information (2009-05-14): Novel anti-HBV vaccine may prevent hepatocellular carcinoma

Drug & Device Development

Novel anti-HBV vaccine may prevent hepatocellular carcinoma

Last Updated: 2009-05-14 15:30:31 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A vaccine against hepatitis B virus (HBV), based on virus-like particles (VLP) loaded with multiepitope peptides, prevents hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a mouse model, according to a report in the May Hepatology.

Fusion VLPs carrying multiepitope peptides could generate broader immune responses and lead to more powerful antitumor attack, the authors explain.

Dr. Fei-Xiang Ding and colleagues from The Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China developed fusion hepatitis B core protein-VLPs inserted with four CTL epitopes derived from HBV X protein and the Th lymphocyte epitope PADRE, and investigated whether these particles could induce broad, specific immune responses and significant antitumor effects in vitro and in mice.

In vitro, VLP-pulsed dendritic cells elicited a broad repertoire of epitope-specific CTL responses, as well as a broad spectrum of specific CD8+ T cells, the authors report.

Primary cultured HCC cells from 6 patients were highly susceptible to lysis by autologous CTLs elicited by VLP-pulsed dendritic cells.

Splenocytes transferred from mice immunized with VLP-pulsed dendritic cells significantly inhibited the growth of hepatic tumor cells in nude mice, the researchers note. Furthermore, active immunization with the VLPs also had a significant inhibitory effect on tumor formation in this animal model of hepatocellular carcinoma.

"In light of the broad repertoire and strong magnitude of elicited CTL responses and significant antitumor effects in vitro and in vivo, our VLPs appear to be promising candidates for HBV-related HCC," the investigators conclude.

Hepatology 2009;49:1492-1502.

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