A cutting-edge scientific study reveals promising results for a prostate cancer vaccine. The nation?s most prestigious scientists and clinicians have joined together this week to reveal this and other groundbreaking discoveries at the Prostate Cancer Research Program?s (PCRP?s) Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) is the second-largest funder of prostate cancer research in the U.S. The program brings together prestigious prostate cancer researchers, survivors, and policy makers to tackle research challenges and offer hope to the millions of people affected directly and indirectly by prostate cancer. The IMPaCT conference represents an unprecedented collaboration between the research community and prostate cancer survivors and advocates?making the PCRP successful in identifying innovative research that tackles prostate cancer’s most critical issues.

Promising Results
Researchers Brian Olson, PhD, and Douglas McNeel, MD, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented findings from their studies with very promising results for the development and use of a new immunotherapeutic vaccine to treat patients with prostate cancer.

?Our hope is that these PCRP-funded findings will lead to a vaccine that is ready for human clinical trials in the very near future?providing hope for thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer,? said Navy Captain Melissa Kaime, MD, Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), in which the PCRP resides.

Immunotherapeutic vaccines are designed to induce or augment immune responses directed against tumor cells. The goal of this new vaccine is to activate an immune response against prostate tumor cells by priming the patient?s immune system to attack the cancer.

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One type of anti-tumor immunotherapy is a DNA vaccine, which is designed to elicit an immune response against a protein made by tumor cells. Researchers used three different models to investigate the potential of targeting the ligand-binding domain of the androgen receptor (AR LBD), a protein expressed predominantly by prostate cells that plays a crucial role in the development and progression of prostate cancer.

Antibody and cellular immune responses
The study showed that the AR LBD is recognized by the immune system, with a relatively high frequency of prostate cancer patients having pre-existing, concurrent antibody and cellular immune responses to the AR LBD. Furthermore, they found that these cellular immune responses have the capacity to kill prostate tumor cells. The study also shows the AR LBD can be safely targeted in lab-tested models of prostate cancer?a DNA vaccine targeting the AR LBD elicited an anti-tumor immune response in multiple experimental models.

?As a result of these findings, we intend to swiftly pursue a phase I clinical trial evaluating a DNA vaccine targeting the AR LBD in patients with prostate cancer,? said Dr. Olson. ?Given the recent approval of a DNA vaccine for canine melanoma, and the safety of other anti-tumor DNA vaccines being evaluated in patients, I believe that DNA vaccines might offer substantial hope for patients with prostate cancer.?

In addition to this study, the IMPaCT conference provides a broad overview of the field of prostate cancer research, while highlighting the ground-breaking contributions that PCRP-funded investigators have made.

The PCRP, which funded this study, is committed to conquering prostate cancer. This important study is just one example of the impact that the PCRP is making in translating innovative science into clinical therapies.The study ?A DNA Vaccine Encoding the Androgen Receptor Ligand-Binding Domain Elicits Anti-Tumor Immune Responses in Vivo,? was conducted by Brian Olson and Douglas McNeel from University of Wisconsin in Madison.

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