It is important to distinguish vaccines designed to prevent cancer from those designed to treat cancer. The mode of action of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical and other HPV-associated malignancies is similar to that of vaccines for the prevention of infectious disease (ie, the induction of antibodies directed against essential components of the microbe). Even though there have been stunning successes in the area of preventive vaccines, the history of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which principally involve the development of cell-mediated immunity (ie, T cells) directed against tumor antigens, has been far more challenging. However, the renaissance of cancer immunotherapy has rendered therapeutic cancer vaccines as a potential integral component of treatment.
Schlom J, Gulley JL. Vaccines as an Integral Component of Cancer Immunotherapy. JAMA. 2018;320(21):2195–2196. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.9511
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