How can I assess the mechanisms of antigen loss to uncover novel immunotherapeutics?

Antigen-specific responses are a vital component in developing effective immunotherapies against several serious ailments. An ongoing challenge for researchers is predicting changes in antigen presentation by cancer cells during the progression of tumor-specific malignancy. Since these markers are dynamically altered in an immunocompromised environment, this presents a severe challenge in designing tumor-associated antigens to prime immune cells efficiently to kill cancer cells.1 Pre-clinical investigations have also explored using combinational therapeutics to elicit non-antigen specific immunity when the antigen stability is not a viable option for certain cancers. Otherwise, several considerations impacting antigen loss include genetics of the host, tumor-specific parameters which includes neoantigen presentation and microsatellite instability status, tumor microenvironment, and the microbiome.2 For more information on this topic please visit our expanded immunotherapy section.

1. M. Vyas et al, "Antigen Loss Variants: Catching Hold of Escaping Foes," Front Immunol 8(175): 1-7, 2017.
2. L. Milling et al, "Delivering Safer Immunotherapies for Cancer," Adv Drug Deliv Rev 114: 79-101, 2017.