Developing Novel Immunotherapy to Improve Clinical Efficacy of Prostate Cancer Vaccines

Dr Irina Redchenko is based at the Jenner Institute (within the Nuffield Department of Medicine). Irina completed her PhD in Immunology, and has been researching in the field of cancer immunotherapy for over 15 years in academia and industry, with a focus on trying to improve patient care by developing novel immunotherapies against various cancer types, including prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer has been under investigation as a target for antigen-specific immunotherapies in metastatic disease settings. However, neither of the two clinically most advanced prostate cancer vaccines (Sipuleucel-T and ProstVac) induced strong T-cell immunity. Recently, Irina and her fellow researchers have completed a first-in-human study of two replication-deficient viruses (chimpanzee adenovirus and MVA) targeting an oncofetal self-antigen 5T4 in early stage prostate cancer. Encouraged by the vaccine’s good immunogenicity and excellent safety profile, the team have started the phase I/II trail to test this vaccine in combination with a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor in the metastatic setting. Until recently, prostate cancer has not been considered amenable to checkpoint blockade drugs. The preliminary results from KEYNOTE-199 study showed an 11% response rate to anti-PD-1 therapy in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. The hope is to demonstrate that the Jenner’s experimental vaccine, in combination with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, will have a significantly higher clinical efficacy than anti-PD-1 treatment as a monotherapy.

Within Oxford Irina is collaborating with the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (including Prof Freddie Hamdy, Prof Richard Bryant, Prof Clare Verrill), the Churchill Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust Oxford University Hospitals (including Dr Mark Tuthill), and the Department of Oncology (including Prof Andrew Protheroe. Furhter collaborators are Prof Silke Gillissen (University of Manchester), Prof James Catto (University of Sheffield), Prof Gert Attard (University College London), Prof Pedro Romero (University of Lausanne).

Irina’s research is funded by the FP7 grant of the European Commission.

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