The US has one of the highest incidences of ovarian cancer. The average woman has a one in seventy risk of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime and the risk of recurrence of this cancer is significant. Fortunately the current diagnostic tests that are available can stratify the patent population and identify the at risk candidates for prophylactic therapy. The medical and surgical options available to treat ovarian cancer once it occurs depend on the stage of the disease and the general condition of the patient.
The opportunity to reduce or eliminate the risk of ovarian cancer in high risk patent or to markedly reduce or block recurrence is of great value to the oncology community. University researchers have identified a way to program a host immune response against ovarian cancer cells. This programming exploits the use of different HLA-A2-restricted peptides that are derived from either the CA125/MUC16 (the best known human ovarian tumor-associated antigen) or peptides form the TADG12 gene product (a serine protease highly expressed in ovarian cancer).
In each case these peptides are able to induce significant cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses against ovarian cancer. These results demonstrate that HLA-A2 restricted peptides loaded onto autologous dendritic cells offer great potential as therapeutic vaccines to prevent disease in predisposed patients or to block the recurrence or progression of the disease in ovarian cancer patients.