With a vaccine directed against endogenous retroviruses, the progression of tumour growth could be significantly inhibited in a mouse model. The prophylactic vaccination could even prevent the development of tumours. The results of this research project were reported in the online edition of PLoS ONE dated 30 August 2013 (11 p.m. CET).
The murine renal carcinoma cell line Renca. On the left: without HERV-K envelope protein expression. On the right: genetically modified Renca cells with HERV-K envelope protein (in red).
Source: PEI - The image is available with 300 dpi (4,7x13,7 cm) - please ask the PEI Press and information office
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) entered the human genome millions of years ago and have been passed on from generation to generation. The human genome contains several thousand such endogenous retrovirus genes. As a rule, the genes of HERV are mute, i.e. they do not produce proteins. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut and other groups have already been able to show that an increase in expression of genes of one group of these retroviruses occurs in HIV infected individuals but also in the tumour cells of various types of cancer. The HERV group could be identified as HERV-K/HML-2(hom), or for short, HERV-K. Professor Dr Barbara Schnierle and her co-workers in the Virology Division of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut now wanted to know whether the specific gene activity of HERV-K could be used therapeutically to fight cancer cells in a targeted manner. To protect healthy cells, it is required to identify structures as targets which are only displayed on cancer cells.
For their investigations, Professor Barbara Schnierle, head of the Section "AIDS, New and Emerging Pathogens", and her co-workers used a murine kidney cell line (Renca). This cell line had been genetically modified in such a way that the cells produced (human) HERV-K envelope proteins to emulate the situation of the HERV-positive human cancer cells as accurately as possible. Mice which received an i.v. administration of these cells developed lung metastases within a short period of time.
For the "vaccination" against these tumours, the researchers used the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), an attenuated virus which cannot replicate after inoculation. In addition, Professor Schnierle and her co-workers had inserted the gene for the HERV-K envelope protein into the MVA genome. After the inoculation, the gene is read in the cells and the envelope protein is formed. It is presented to the immune system as antigen and an immune response can be induced.
Then the PEI scientists performed investigations to establish whether their "vaccine" could be used both for therapeutic and for prophylactic purposes: For the therapeutic approach, they first injected the genetically modified mouse cancer cells, then waited ten days until lung metastases were formed and then treated part of the mice with the MVA vaccine. The tumours grew considerably more slowly in the vaccinated animals and fewer metastases were observed than in the non-vaccinated animals. However, complete tumour remission was not achieved.
With regard to the prophylactic vaccination, the effect was even more significant: Here, the animals were at first vaccinated twice with the virus (days 0 and 21), and the cancer cells were administered twelve days later. The animals thus vaccinated were protected entirely from tumour development – no metastases could be identified.
"The findings have shown for the first time that the HERV-K envelope protein could be a useful target for the development of a vaccine, and may be able to provide new options for the treatment of various tumours" explained Professor Schnierle.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines in Langen in the federal state of Hessen, is a senior federal authority reporting to the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG). It is responsible for the research, assessment, and marketing authorisation of biomedicines for human use and veterinary vaccines. Its remit also includes the authorisation of clinical trials and pharmacovigilance, i.e. recording and evaluation of potential adverse effects. Other duties of the institute include official batch control, scientific advice and inspections. In-house experimental research in the field of biomedicines and life science form an indispensable basis for the varied and many tasks performed at the institute. The PEI, with its roughly 800 staff, also has advisory functions at a national level (federal government, federal states (Länder)), and at an international level (World Health Organisation, European Medicines Agency, European Commission, Council of Europe etc.).
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0072756 Publication (Fulltext)http://www.pei.de/EN/information/journalists-press/press-releases/2013/04-prehistoric-relics-targets-vaccination-against-cancer.html
Press Release on the PEI-Website
Dr. Susanne Stöcker | idw
Funding of Collaborative Research Center developing nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy extended
28.06.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Zeolite catalysts pave the road to decentral chemical processes Confined space increases reactivity
28.06.2017 | Technische Universität München
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Information Technology
28.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.06.2017 | Life Sciences