CANCER VACCINES AND VACCINATION METHODS

Compositions of multipeptide vaccines comprising at least seven tumor associated antigens, compositions of antigen presenting cell (e.g., dendritic cell) based vaccines presenting epitopes from at least seven tumor associated antigens, and methods of making same, are provided herein. Also, disclosed are methods for treating gynecological and peritoneal cancers using such vaccines.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/764,789, filed Feb. 14, 2013, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.

SEQUENCE LISTING

The application contains a Sequence Listing which has been submitted electronically in .txt format and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Said .txt copy, created on Mar. 7, 2014, is named 22862-0024001 txt.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosure relates generally to multivalent vaccine compositions, methods of making such compositions, as well as methods for the treatment of gynecologic and peritoneal cancers.

BACKGROUND

Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most frequent cause of gynecologic cancer-related mortality in women (Jemal, A., et al., Global cancer statistics. CA Cancer J Clin, 2011, 61(2): p. 69-90). It was estimated that in 2008 (the most recent year numbers are available), approximately 21,204 women were diagnosed and 14,362 women died of disease in the US (see, www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/statistics/index.htm). It is estimated that approximately 190,000 new cases will be diagnosed and 115,000 women will die from ovarian cancer per year world-wide. While advances in chemotherapy have been made over the past three decades, the overall 5 year survival for advanced stage disease remains less than 35%.

Initial response rates of advanced ovarian cancer to the standard upfront paclitaxel and carboplatin treatment approach is 75%, with complete clinical response rates near 55%. Unfortunately over 75% of subjects with complete clinical response are destined to relapse and succumb to their disease (Coukos, G. and S. C. Rubin, Chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer: new molecular perspectives. Obstet Gynecol, 1998, 91(5 Pt 1): p. 783-92). For most subjects, ovarian cancer will recur within two years, with median time to progression of 20-24 months for optimally surgically cytoreduced subjects and 12-18 months for subjects with suboptimal reduction. Response rates to second line chemotherapy are significantly lower, between 15-30%, depending on the length of progression free survival and the number of previous treatments. Once ovarian cancer has recurred, it is not considered curable and progression to death is usually inevitable, despite aggressive chemotherapy strategies. These facts elucidate the enormous unmet need for the development of alternate therapies in ovarian cancer (Coukos, G. and S. C. Rubin, Gene therapy for ovarian cancer. Oncology (Williston Park), 2001, 15(9): p. 1197-204, 1207; discussion 1207-8; Coukos, G., et al., Immunotherapy for gynaecological malignancies. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 2005, 5(9): p. 1193-210; Coukos, G., M. C. Courreges, and F. Benencia, Intraperitoneal oncolytic and tumor vaccination therapy with replication-competent recombinant virus: the herpes paradigm. Curr Gene Ther, 2003, 3(2): p. 113-25).

Fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers have many molecular, histologic, clinical and etiologic similarities to epithelial ovarian carcinoma. More that 90% of fallopian tube cancers are serous adenocarcinomas, which are histologically indistinguishable from papillary serous ovarian carcinoma. Women, diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer, are clinically treated using the same surgical and chemotherapeutic approach as epithelial ovarian cancer because of the similarities in their biological behavior (Benedet, J. L., et al., FIGO staging classifications and clinical practice guidelines in the management of gynecologic cancers. FIGO Committee on Gynecologic Oncology. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 2000, 70(2): p. 209-62). Most of the hereditary and perhaps many of the sporadic ovarian cancers may in fact originate in the fallopian tube, further underlying similarities between the two tumors.

Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that activates the immune system to attack and eradicate cancer cells. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (“CTL”) are critical to a successful antitumor immune response. T cells that attack cancer cells require the presentation of tumor antigens to naïve T cells that undergo activation, clonal expansion, and ultimately exert their cytolytic effector function. Effective antigen presentation is essential to successful CTL effector function. Thus, the development of a successful strategy to initiate presentation of tumor antigens to T cells can be important to an immunotherapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.

With the clinical outcome of many types of cancers being from poor to lethal, there exists a significant need for the development of novel therapeutic treatments.

SUMMARY

This disclosure is based, at least in part, on the recognition that immunizing gynecological and peritoneal cancer patients with antigen presenting cells (APC) loaded with combinations of MHC class I peptide epitopes from at least seven tumor antigens, or with multipeptide mixtures of these peptide epitopes, can induce surprisingly strong therapeutic immune responses that can lead to significantly improved responsiveness to treatment and increased patient survival. The seven tumor antigens are: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, Folate Binding Protein, HER2/neu, IL-13Rα2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2.

The rationale for using one or more epitopes from these at least these seven antigens stems from the fact that these antigens are involved in a wide range of cellular functions such as tumor growth, tumor differentiation, transformation, signal transduction, cell adhesion, and cell movement. Thus, vaccines comprising peptide epitopes from these antigens will target multiple antigens that will attack different functions of the cancer cell (e.g., ovarian, fallopian, and peritoneal cancer cell). In addition, the use of the mixture of peptide epitopes from these seven antigens prevent the generation of escape mutants that would down regulate a single antigen. Furthermore, as the majority of the seven antigens are highly expressed in ovarian cancer as well as peritoneal and fallopian tube cancers, the combination of peptide epitopes of these seven antigens would provide coverage for all ovarian tumors as well as peritoneal and fallopian tube cancers. Finally, a vaccine comprising epitopes from these seven antigens will target antigens early in the disease that are normally upregulated with progression. Thus, it is believed that the specific combination of epitopes in Table 1 (i.e., SEQ ID NO:17, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:28, SEQ ID NO:40, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:55, and SEQ ID NO:66; or SEQ ID NO:15, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:28, SEQ ID NO:40, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:55, and SEQ ID NO:66) will be useful in treatment of ovarian cancer as well as peritoneal and fallopian tube cancers either as a multipeptide vaccine and/or as a dendritic cell vaccine.

Accordingly, compositions and methods for inducing immune responses in cancer patients against tumor antigens are provided herein. The compositions include multipeptide vaccines comprising HLA class I epitopes from at least the following seven tumor antigens: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, Folate Binding Protein (FBP), Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu), IL-13 receptor α2, Melanoma-associated antigen 1 (MAGE-A1), and EPH receptor A2 (EphA2). The compositions also include antigen presenting cells (e.g., dendritic cells) that present epitopes comprising HLA class I epitopes from the above-listed seven tumor associated antigens. The methods described herein use such vaccines for the treatment of gynecological cancer and peritoneal cancer.

In one aspect, the disclosure provides a composition comprising at least one major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I peptide epitope of at least seven antigens selected from the group consisting of mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1. The epitopes of the at least seven antigens may be stored individually or stored as a mixture of these epitopes. In certain embodiments of this aspect, the composition can comprise a mixture of at least one major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I peptide epitope of at least eight, nine, or ten antigens. In certain embodiments of this aspect, the MHC class I peptide epitope is an HLA-A2 epitope. In some embodiments, the composition can comprise a mixture of at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the following seven antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. In some specific embodiments, the composition comprising at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the seven antigens comprises the following peptide sequences: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. In certain embodiments, the peptides are synthetic.

In another embodiment, the composition of this aspect, further comprises at least one MHC class I peptide epitope from a tumor associated antigen, wherein the tumor associated antigen is not any of mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, or EphA2. In some specific embodiments, the composition comprising at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the seven antigens further comprises at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7) of the following seven antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1 (e.g., p53; k-Ras; Ep-CAM; MUC1; Survivin; hTERT; WT1; p53 and k-Ras; p53 and Ep-CAM; p53 and MUC1; p53 and Survivin; p53 and hTERT1; p53 and WT1; k-Ras and Ep-CAM; k-Ras and MUC1; k-Ras and Survivin; k-Ras and hTERT; k-Ras and WT1; Ep-CAM and MUC1; Ep-CAM and Survivin; Ep-CAM and hTERT; Ep-CAM and WT1; MUC1 and Survivin; MUC1 and hTERT; MUC1 and WT1; Survivin and hTERT; Survivin and WT1; hTERT and WT1; p53, k-Ras, and Ep-CAM; p53, Ep-CAM, and MUC1; p53, MUC-1, and Survivin; p53, Survivin, and hTERT; p53, hTERT1, and WT1; p53, WT1, and MUC-1; Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, and hTERT; -Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1).

In some specific embodiments, the composition comprising at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the seven antigens further comprises two MHC class I peptide epitopes of at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7) of the following seven antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1 (e.g., p53; k-Ras; Ep-CAM; MUC1; Survivin; hTERT; WT1; p53 and k-Ras; p53 and Ep-CAM; p53 and MUC1; p53 and Survivin; p53 and hTERT1; p53 and WT1; k-Ras and Ep-CAM; k-Ras and MUC1; k-Ras and Survivin; k-Ras and hTERT; k-Ras and WT1; Ep-CAM and MUC1; Ep-CAM and Survivin; Ep-CAM and hTERT; Ep-CAM and WT1; MUC1 and Survivin; MUC1 and hTERT; MUC1 and WT1; Survivin and hTERT; Survivin and WT1; hTERT and WT1; p53, k-Ras, and Ep-CAM; p53, Ep-CAM, and MUC1; p53, MUC-1, and Survivin; p53, Survivin, and hTERT; p53, hTERT1, and WT1; p53, WT1, and MUC-1; Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, and hTERT; -Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1).

In certain embodiments, the at least one MHC class I peptide is synthetic. In another embodiment, the composition of this aspect, further comprises at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3) MHC class I peptide epitope from a tumor associated antigen, wherein the tumor associated antigen is not p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, or hTERT. In certain embodiments, the at least one MHC class I peptide is synthetic. In another embodiment, the composition of this aspect, further comprises at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3) MHC class I peptide epitope from a tumor associated antigen, wherein the tumor associated antigen is not mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, or hTERT.

In some embodiments, the composition of this aspect, further comprises at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4) MHC class II peptide epitope. In some embodiments, the composition of this aspect further comprises an adjuvant. In some embodiments, the composition of this aspect, further comprises a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

In another aspect, this disclosure features a composition comprising isolated peptides comprising the following amino acid sequences: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with two or fewer (e.g., 2, 1, or none) amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:17; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:26; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:28; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:40; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:49; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:55; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:66.

The epitopes of the at least seven antigens may be stored individually or stored as a mixture of these epitopes. In some specific embodiments, the composition further comprises at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) of the following seven antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1 (e.g., p53; k-Ras; Ep-CAM; MUC1; Survivin; hTERT; WT1; p53 and k-Ras; p53 and Ep-CAM; p53 and MUC1; p53 and Survivin; p53 and hTERT1; p53 and WT1; k-Ras and Ep-CAM; k-Ras and MUC1; k-Ras and Survivin; k-Ras and hTERT; k-Ras and WT1; Ep-CAM and MUC1; Ep-CAM and Survivin; Ep-CAM and hTERT; Ep-CAM and WT1; MUC1 and Survivin; MUC1 and hTERT; MUC1 and WT 1; Survivin and hTERT; Survivin and WT 1; hTERT and WT1; p53, k-Ras, and Ep-CAM; p53, Ep-CAM, and MUC1; p53, MUC-1, and Survivin; p53, Survivin, and hTERT; p53, hTERT1, and WT1; p53, WT1, and MUC-1; Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; Ep-CAM, k-Ras, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, and hTERT; -Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1; p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1). In certain embodiments, the peptides are synthetic. In another embodiment, the composition further comprises at least one MHC class I peptide epitope from a tumor associated antigen, wherein the tumor associated antigen is not mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, or hTERT. In some embodiments, the composition further comprises at least one MHC class II peptide epitope. In some embodiments, the composition further comprises an adjuvant. In some embodiments, the composition further comprises a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

In another aspect, this disclosure features a composition comprising isolated dendritic cells, wherein the dendritic cells present peptide sequences on their cell surface, wherein the peptide sequences comprise at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) MHC class I peptide epitope of at least seven of the following antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1 (e.g., Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2; Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, and survivin; Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, and hTERT; Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, and WT1; Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, and Ep-CAM; Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, and MUC1; FBP, Her-2, NY-ESO-1, IL-13Rα2, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1). In some embodiments, the MHC class I peptide epitope is an HLA-A2 peptide epitope. In a specific embodiment, the MHC class I peptide epitope is an HLA-A0201 peptide epitope. In certain embodiments, the dendritic cells present peptide sequences comprising MHC class I peptide epitopes of at least, eight, nine, or ten of the antigens.

In certain embodiments, the MHC class I peptide epitopes comprise the following peptide sequences: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. In some embodiments, the dendritic cells acquired the peptide epitopes in vitro by exposure to synthetic peptides comprising the peptide epitopes. In certain embodiments, the composition further comprises dendritic cells that present at least one MHC class I epitope of at least one of the following seven antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1. In some embodiments, the composition further comprises at least one MHC class I epitope from a tumor associated antigen, wherein the tumor associated antigen is not mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, or WT1. In some embodiments, the peptide sequences are synthetic.

In another aspect, the disclosure features a solution comprising isolated dendritic cells presenting the following MHC class I peptide epitopes on their cell surface: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. In certain embodiments this solution also includes one or more of: Plasmalyte-A (20-40%—e.g., 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%), dextrose (1-8% e.g., 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%)/NaCl (0.2 to 0.6M—e.g., 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6), DMSO (5 to 10% e.g., 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%, 9%, 10%), dextran (0.2% to 2%—e.g., 0.2%, 0.4%, 0.5%, 0.6%, 0.7%, 0.8%, 0.9%, 1%, 1.2%, 1.5%, 2%) and human serum albumin (1% to 7.5%—e.g., 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 4.5%, 5%, 5.5%, 6%, 6.5%, 7%, 7.5%). In a specific embodiment, the solution comprises 31.25% Plasmalyte-A; 31.25% dextrose (5%)/0.45 M NaCl; 7.5% DMSO; 1% dextran; and 5% human serum albumin. In some embodiments, the solution contains 1×107 to 1.5×107 dendritic cells. In some embodiments, the solution has a volume of 1 mL.

In yet another aspect, the disclosure features a method of treating a gynecological or peritoneal cancer. The method involves administering to a subject in need thereof an effective amount of a composition described herein. In certain embodiments, the gynecological cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer or fallopian tube cancer. In some embodiments, the peritoneal cancer is primary peritoneal cancer. In some embodiments, the method further involves administering a second agent prior to, at substantially the same time as, or subsequent to, administering the subject with the composition, wherein the second agent is any agent that is useful in the treatment of the gynecological or peritoneal cancer. Combination therapy may allow lower doses of multiple agents and/or modified dosing regimens, thus reducing the overall incidence of adverse effects. In some embodiments, the method further involves administering a chemotherapeutic agent prior to, at substantially the same time as, or subsequent to, administering the subject with the composition. In certain embodiments, the subject is administered the chemotherapeutic agent 0.5 hours to 3 days (0.5 hours, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours, 14 hours, 15 hours, 18 hours, 20 hours, 1 day, 1.5 days, 2 days, 2.5 days, 3 days) prior to or subsequent to administering the subject with the composition. In a specific embodiment, the chemotherapeutic agent is cyclophosphamide. In other embodiments, the chemotherapeutic agent is paclitaxel, altretamine, capecitabine, etoposide, gemcitabine, ifosfamide, irinotecan, doxorubicin, melphalan, pemetrexed, toptecan, or vinorelbine.

In another aspect, the disclosure features a process that includes the steps of: obtaining bone marrow derived mononuclear cells from a patient; culturing the mononuclear cells in vitro under conditions in which mononuclear cells become adherent to a culture vessel; selecting adherent mononuclear cells; culturing the adherent mononuclear cells in the presence of one or more cytokines under conditions in which the cells differentiate into antigen presenting cells; and culturing the antigen presenting cells in the presence of peptides, wherein the peptides comprise amino acid sequences corresponding to at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of at least seven of the following sixteen antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1, under conditions in which the cells present the peptides on major histocompatibility class I molecules.

In some embodiments, the synthetic peptides comprise at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the following antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. In certain embodiments, the one or more cytokines comprise granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor and interleukin-4 (IL-4). In other embodiments, the one or more cytokines comprise tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). In certain embodiments, the bone marrow derived cells are obtained from a patient diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or fallopian tube carcinoma. In a specific embodiment, the synthetic peptides comprise the following sequences: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2.

“Gynecological cancer” means cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, vulvar, or fallopian tube cancer.

By “ovarian cancer” is meant a cancerous growth arising from the ovaries. The term encompasses epithelial ovarian tumors, germ cell ovarian tumors, sex cord stromal ovarian tumors as well as metastatic cancers that spread to the ovaries.

“Epitope” means a short peptide derived from a protein antigen, wherein the peptide binds to a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule and is recognized in the MHC-bound context by a T cell. The epitope may bind an MHC class I molecule (e.g., HLA-A1, HLA-A2 or HLA-A3) or an MHC class II molecule.

“Treatment” and “treating,” as used herein refer to both therapeutic treatment and prophylactic or preventative measures, wherein the object is to inhibit or slow down (lessen) the targeted disorder (e.g., cancer, e.g., ovarian cancer) or symptom of the disorder, or to improve a symptom, even if the treatment is partial or ultimately unsuccessful. Those in need of treatment include those already diagnosed with the disorder as well as those prone or predisposed to contract the disorder or those in whom the disorder is to be prevented. For example, in tumor (e.g., cancer) treatment, a therapeutic agent can directly decrease the pathology of tumor cells, or render the tumor cells more susceptible to treatment by other therapeutic agents or by the subject's own immune system.

A “dendritic cell” or “DC” is an antigen presenting cell (APC) that typically expresses high levels of MHC molecules and co-stimulatory molecules, and lacks expression of (or has low expression of) markers specific for granulocytes, NK cells, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes, but can vary depending on the source of the dendritic cell. DCs are able to initiate antigen specific primary T lymphocyte responses in vitro and in vivo, and direct a strong mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR) compared to peripheral blood leukocytes, splenocytes, B cells and monocytes. Generally, DCs ingest antigen by phagocytosis or pinocytosis, degrade it, present fragments of the antigen at their surface and secrete cytokines.

Unless defined otherwise, technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this disclosure belongs. Singleton et al., Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology 3rd ed., J. Wiley & Sons (New York, N.Y. 2001); March, Advanced Organic Chemistry Reactions, Mechanisms and Structure 5th ed., J. Wiley & Sons (New York, N.Y. 2001); Sambrook and Russel, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual 3rd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. 2001); and Lutz et al., Handbook of Dendritic Cells: Biology, Diseases and Therapies, J. Wiley & Sons (New York, N.Y. 2006), provide one skilled in the art with a general guide to many of the terms used in the present application. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described below. All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, the drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in human ovarian cancer cell (882AC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 1B is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in cancer stem cell (882CSC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 1C is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in ovarian cancer daughter cell (882ADC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 2A is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in human ovarian cancer stem cell (882CSC) relative to human ovarian cancer cell (882AC).

FIG. 2B is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 in human ovarian cancer daughter cell (882ADC) relative to human ovarian cancer stem cell (882CSC).

FIG. 3A is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in human ovarian cancer cells (1031AC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 3B is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in cancer stem cells (1031CSC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 3C is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in ovarian cancer daughter cells (1031ADC) relative to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic) based on quantitative real-time PCR analysis.

FIG. 4A is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens from which the peptides of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in human ovarian cancer stem cell (1031CSC) relative to human ovarian cancer cell (1031AC).

FIG. 4B is a bar graph showing the RNA expression of the antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 in human ovarian cancer daughter cell (1031ADC) relative to human ovarian cancer stem cell (1031CSC) (FIG. 4B).

FIG. 5A is a bar graph showing the capacity of Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides to bind T2 cells.

FIG. 5B is a bar graph showing the capacity of Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides to bind T2 cells.

FIG. 6A is a bar graph depicting cytotoxicity of antigen-specific CTLs against HLA-A2 human ovarian cancer stem cells 882CSC. Control: 882CSC (UT): untreated cell.

FIG. 6B is a bar graph depicting cytotoxicity of antigen-specific CTLs against HLA-A2+ human ovarian cancer stem cells 1031CSC. Control: 1031CSC (UT): untreated cell.

FIG. 7 is a bar graph showing RNA expression based on the TCGA dataset (586 patient samples) of the genes encoding antigens from which the peptides used in Exemplary Vaccine 1 were derived.

FIG. 8A is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on HER2 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 8B is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on EphA2 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 8C is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on FOLR1 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the upper curve in the graph.

FIG. 8D is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on MSLN RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 8E is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on MAGE-A1 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 8F is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on IL-13Rα2 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 8G is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on NY-ESO-1 RNA expression in human ovarian cancer (Dataset: TCGA, 557 human ovarian cancer patients). The high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 9A is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on RNA expression of IL-13Rα2 in human ovarian cancer patients (Dataset: GSE 9891, 285 human ovarian cancer patients). In this figure, the high expression curve is the bottom curve in the graph.

FIG. 9B is a graph depicting overall survival (OS) based on RNA expression of NY-ESO-1 in human ovarian cancer patients (Dataset: GSE 9891, 285 human ovarian cancer patients). In this figure, the high expression curve is the upper curve in the graph.

FIG. 10 is a bar graph showing the results of an IFN-γ ELISPOT assay of the antigen-specific T cell response to the T2 pulsed with HER2 p339 and three Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides: HER2p773, IL-13Rα2p345, and EphA2p883.

FIG. 11 is a schematic representation of the timeline of the Study described in Example 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure relates in part to compositions that are useful to treat gynecological and peritoneal cancers. The compositions described herein include antigen presenting cells (e.g., dendritic cells) presenting epitopes from at least seven tumor-associated antigens (i.e., mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, Folate Binding Protein (FBP), Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/neu), IL-13 receptor α2, Melanoma-associated antigen 1(MAGE-A1), and EPH receptor A2 (EphA2)) that elicit therapeutic and tumor-specific immune responses. The compositions described herein also include multipeptide mixtures of epitopes comprising at least seven of the above-listed tumor-associated antigens. These compositions target multiple tumor cell functions and stimulate a more heterogeneous immune response than would be elicited with epitopes from a single antigen and thus, are particularly beneficial for targeting tumors. Often, a tumor will evolve to turn off the expression of a particular tumor associated antigen, creating “escape mutants”. Thus, an immune response against multiple tumor antigens is more likely to provide effective therapy to deal with such mutants, and can provide significant therapeutic benefits for various patient populations. In addition, the compositions described herein provide the ability to treat all gynecological and peritoneal tumors. A further advantage of the compositions described herein is that they target antigens that are expressed early in the disease that are upregulated with progression of the disease.

Table 1 provides a listing of the seven antigens and exemplary MHC class I peptide epitopes of Exemplary Vaccine 1.

TABLE 1 Ag Expression A2 peptide in Ovarian Immunogenicity Antigen epitope(s) Cancer in vitro Function Mesothelin SLLFLLFSL 67-100% Yes Facilitate metastasis; (SEQ ID NO: 15); Maintain viability VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO: 17) NY-ESO-1 SLLMWITQC 11-20% Yes unknown (SEQ ID NO: 26) Folate EIWTHSYKV >90% Yes Tumor growth Binding (SEQ ID NO: 28) advantage Protein HER2/neu VMAGVGSPYV 100%-Stage Yes Signal transduction (SEQ ID NO: 40) III/IV IL-13Rα2 WLPFGFILI 83% Yes Gain of function,IL13 (SEQ ID NO: 49) responsiveness MAGE-A1 KVLEYVIKV 30-55% Yes unknown (SEQ ID NO: 55) EphA2 TLADFDPRV 76% Yes Receptor tyrosine (SEQ ID NO: 66) kinase (RTK)

This disclosure also relates in part to methods for treating gynecological (e.g., ovarian, fallopian tube) and peritoneal (e.g., primary peritoneal) cancers by administering a multipeptide vaccine comprising mixtures of epitopes from at least the seven tumor antigens disclosed above, or by administering antigen presenting cells presenting unique combinations of epitopes from the tumor antigens disclosed above. The combinations of epitopes from the antigens can be administered to the patients either as a multipeptide vaccine, or can be presented on the surface of antigen presenting cells (e.g., dendritic cells). Vaccination with antigen presenting cells is safe and elicits a cytotoxic T cell response that leads to the elimination of tumor cells expressing one or more of these antigens.

The compositions and methods of this application feature at least one epitope of at least the following seven antigens: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. The compositions and methods may also feature one or more epitopes of at least one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven of the following antigens: p53, k-Ras, Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (Ep-CAM), Mucin 1 (MUC1), Survivin, human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT), and WT1; these epitopes may be MHC class I (e.g., HLA-A2) and/or class II epitopes. In one embodiment, the application features combinations or mixtures of one or more MHC class I epitopes of the following seven antigens: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. In a specific embodiment, the epitopes are peptides that bind HLA-A2.

Table 2 lists the amino acid sequences of the above-listed antigens. Table 3 provides non-limiting examples of epitopes of these antigens.

Antigens

Mesothelin

Mesothelin is a differentiation antigen present on normal mesothelial cells and overexpressed in several human tumors, including mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The mesothelin gene encodes a precursor protein that is processed to yield the 40-kDa protein, mesothelin, which is attached to the cell membrane by a glycosylphosphatidyl inositol linkage and a 31-kDa shed fragment named megakaryocyte-potentiating factor. This protein is thought to play a role in cancer metastasis by mediating cell adhesion by binding to MUC16/CA-125.

Table 2 provides an amino acid sequence of the 622 amino acid human mesothelin protein (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP 001170826.1). Exemplary sequences of mesothelin HLA epitopes are provided in Table 3.

NY-ESO-1

Although NY-ESO-1 is expressed in normal adult tissues solely in the testicular germ cells of normal adults, it is expressed in various cancers including melanoma, lung, breast, and ovarian cancers.

Human NY-ESO-1 is 180 amino acids in length. Table 2 provides an amino acid sequence of human NY-ESO-1 (also available in GenBank under accession no. CAA05908.1). Exemplary sequences of NY-ESO-1 HLA epitopes are listed in Table 3.

FBP

Folate Binding Protein exhibits a strong affinity for human folic acid. Folate binding protein is overexpressed in cancers including ovarian, endometrial, breast, lung, colorectal, and renal cell carcinomas.

Human FBP is 257 amino acids in length. Table 2 provides an amino acid sequence of human FBP (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP057941.1). Exemplary sequences of FBP HLA epitopes are provided in Table 3.

HER-2

HER-2 (also known as HER-2/neu, and c-erbB2) is a 1255 amino acid transmembrane glycoprotein with tyrosine kinase activity. HER-2 is overexpressed in a variety of tumor types. This protein promotes tumor growth by activating a variety of cell signaling pathways including MAPK, PI3K/Akt, and PKC.

Table 2 provides an amino acid sequence of human HER-2 (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP 004439.2). Exemplary sequences of HER-2 HLA are listed in Table 3.

IL-13 Receptor α2

IL-13 receptor α2 is a non-signaling component of the multimeric IL-13 receptor. Stimulation of this receptor activates production of TGF-β1, which inhibits cytotoxic T cell function. The human IL-13 receptor α2 amino acid sequence, which is 380 amino acids in length, is shown in Table 2 (also available in Genbank under accession no. NP000631.1). An exemplary sequence of an IL-13 receptor α2 HLA epitope is shown in Table 3.

MAGE-A1

MAGE-A1 is a protein found in testicular germ cells and plays an important role in spermatogenesis. MAGE-A1 is also expressed in several cancers including brain, ovarian, lung, and liver.

The MAGE-A1 protein is 309 amino acids in length. Table 2 provides an amino acid sequence of human MAGE-1 (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP004979.3). Exemplary sequences of a MAGE-A1 HLA epitopes are shown in Table 3.

EphA2

EphA2 belongs to the ephrin receptor subfamily of the protein-tyrosine kinase family. EPH and EPH-related receptors have been implicated in mediating developmental events, particularly in the nervous system. Receptors in the EPH subfamily typically have a single kinase domain and an extracellular region containing a Cys-rich domain and two fibronectin type III repeats. The ephrin receptors are divided into 2 groups based on the similarity of their extracellular domain sequences and their affinities for binding ephrin-A and ephrin-B ligands. EphA2 binds ephrin-A ligands and is a transcriptional target of the Ras-MAPK pathway. It is thought to play a role in tumor cell invasion by regulating integrins and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) dephosphorylation.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human EphA2 which has 976 amino acids (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP004422.2). Exemplary sequences of EphA2 HLA epitopes are provided in Table 3.

p53

p53 is a tumor suppressor protein that is crucial in multicellular organisms, where it regulates the cell cycle and, thus, functions as a tumor suppressor that is involved in preventing cancer. p53 has been referred to as “the guardian of the genome” because of its role in conserving stability by preventing genome mutation. p53 is a transcription factor that can bind to promoter regions of hundreds of genes where it either activates or suppresses gene expression. p53 serves as a tumor suppressor by inducing cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, senescence and DNA repair. In normal cells, p53 is frequently undetectable due to fast ubiquitination by mdm-2 and subsequent proteasomal degradation. However, upon DNA damage and several other stresses, including oncogenic stress, the amount of p53 is increased due to disruption of its degradation. Notably, inactivation of p53 is one of the characteristics of cancer. Indeed, p53 has a wide spectrum of mutation types and p53 is found mutated in approximately half of all tumors.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human p53 which has 393 amino acids (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP000537.3). Table 3 lists exemplary p53 epitopes.

K-Ras

Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog also known as KRAS is a protein that performs essential functions in normal tissue signaling. Like other members of the Ras family, the KRAS protein is a GTPase and is an early player in many signal transduction pathways. KRAS is usually tethered to cell membranes because of the presence of an isoprenyl group on its C-terminus. The mutation of a KRAS gene is an essential step in the development of many cancers.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human k-Ras which is 188 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP004976.2). Table 3 lists exemplary k-Ras HLA epitopes.

Ep-CAM

EpCAM is a pan-epithelial differentiation antigen that is expressed on almost all carcinomas. It is a single-pass type I membrane protein. Table 2 provides a sequence of human Ep-CAM which is 314 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP002345.2). Table 3 lists exemplary Ep-CAM HLA epitopes

MUC1

MUC1 is a glycoprotein with extensive 0-linked glycosylation of its extracellular domain. MUC1 lines the apical surface of epithelial cells of several organs such as the lungs, stomach, intestines, and eyes. MUC1 protects the body from infection by preventing pathogen from reaching the cell surface by capturing the pathogen in oligosaccharides in the extracellular domain. Overexpression of MUC1 is often associated with colon, breast, ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human survivin which is 264 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP001018016.1). Table 3 provides exemplary MUC1 HLA epitopes.

Survivin

Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis family. Survivin inhibits caspase activation, thereby leading to negative regulation of apoptosis or programmed cell death. Survivin is expressed highly in most human tumours and fetal tissue, but is completely absent in terminally differentiated cells. This fact makes survivin an ideal target for cancer therapy as cancer cells are targeted while normal cells are left alone.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human survivin which is 137 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP001012270.1). Exemplary HLA epitopes of survivin are listed in Table 3.

hTERT

Telomerase reverse transcriptase is a catalytic subunit of the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein polymerase that lengthens telomeres. Telomeres protect the ends of the chromosomes from destruction and normal cell death. The telomerase protein plays a role in normal cell death because it is usually repressed, resulting in progressive shortening of telomeres. When telomerase begins to function abnormally, the cell can become immortal. This process is thought to be important in the development of several types of cancer.

Table 2 provides a sequence of human TERT which is 1069 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. NP001180305.1). Table 3 lists exemplary hTERT HLA epitopes.

WT1

WT1 is a zinc finger transcription factor that plays an essential role in the development of the urogenital system. It is overexpressed in several types of leukemia and solid tumors. Table 2 provides a sequence of human WT1 which is 449 amino acids in length (also available in GenBank under accession no. AAA61299.1). Exemplary HLA epitopes of WT1 are listed in Table 3.

TABLE 2 Amino Acid Sequences of Antigens Tumor antigen Amino acid sequence Mesothelin MALPTARPLL GSCGTPALGSLLFLLFSLGW VQPSRTLAGE TGQEAAPLDG VLANPPNISS LSPRQLLGFP CAEVSGLSTE RVRELAVALA QKNVKLSTEQ LRCLAHRLSE PPEDLDALPL DLLLFLNPDA FSGPQACTRF FSRITKANVD LLPRGAPERQ RLLPAALACW GVRGSLLSEA DVRALGGLAC DLPGRFVAES AEVLLPRLVS CPGPLDQDQQ EAARAALQGG GPPYGPPSTW SVSTMDALRG LLPVLGQPII RSIPQGIVAA WRQRSSRDPS WRQPERTILR PRFRREVEKT ACPSGKKARE IDESLIFYKK WELEACVDAA LLATQMDRVN AIPFTYEQLD VLKHKLDELY PQGYPESVIQ HLGYLFLKMS PEDIRKWNVT SLETLKALLE VNKGHEMSPQ VATLIDRFVK GRGQLDKDTL DTLTAFYPGY LCSLSPEELS SVPPSSIWAV RPQDLDTCDP RQLDVLYPKA RLAFQNMNGS EYFVKIQSFL GGAPTEDLKA LSQQNVSMDL ATFMKLRTDA VLPLTVAEVQ KLLGPHVEGL KAEERHRPVR DWILRQRQDD LDTLGLGLQG GIPNGYLVLD LSMQEALSGT PCLLGPGPVL TVLALLLAST LA (SEQ ID NO: 1) NY-ESO-1 MQAEGRGTGG STGDADGPGG PGIPDGPGGN AGGPGEAGAT GGRGPRGAGA ARASGPGGGA PRGPHGGAAS GLNGCCRCGA RGPESRLLEF YLAMPFATPM EAELARRSLA QDAPPLPVPG VLLKEFTVSG NILTIRLTAA DHRQLQLSIS SCLQQLSLLMWITQCFLPVF LAQPPSGQRR (SEQ ID NO: 2) FBP MAQRMTTQLL LLLVWVAVVG EAQTRIAWAR TELLNVCMNA KHHKEKPGPE DKLHEQCRPW RKNACCSTNT SQEAHKDVSY LYRFNWNHCG EMAPACKRHF IQDTCLYECS PNLGPWIQQV DQSWRKERVL NVPLCKEDCE QWWEDCRTSY TCKSNWHKGW NWTSGFNKCA VGAACQPFHF YFPTPTVLCN EIWTHSYKVS NYSRGSGRCI QMWFDPAQGN PNEEVARFYA AAMSGAGPWA AWPFLLSLAL MLLWLLS (SEQ ID NO: 3) HER-2 MELAALCRWG LLLALLPPGA ASTQVCTGTD MKLRLPASPE THLDMLRHLY QGCQVVQGNL ELTYLPTNAS LSFLQDIQEV QGYVLIAHNQ VRQVPLQRLR IVRGTQLFED NYALAVLDNG DPLNNTTPVT GASPGGLREL QLRSLTEILK GGVLIQRNPQ LCYQDTILWK DIFHKNNQLA LTLIDTNRSR ACHPCSPMCK GSRCWGESSE DCQSLTRTVC AGGCARCKGP LPTDCCHEQC AAGCTGPKHS DCLACLHFNH SGICELHCPA LVTYNTDTFE SMPNPEGRYT FGASCVTACP YNYLSTDVGS CTLVCPLHNQ EVTAEDGTQR CEKCSKPCAR VCYGLGMEHL REVRAVTSAN IQEFAGCKKI FGSLAFLPES FDGDPASNTA PLQPEQLQVF ETLEEITGYL YISAWPDSLP DLSVFQNLQV IRGRILHNGA YSLTLQGLGI SWLGLRSLRE LGSGLALIHH NTHLCFVHTV PWDQLFRNPH QALLHTANRP EDECVGEGLA CHQLCARGHC WGPGPTQCVN CSQFLRGQEC VEECRVLQGL PREYVNARHC LPCHPECQPQ NGSVTCFGPE ADQCVACAHY KDPPFCVARC PSGVKPDLSY MPIWKFPDEE GACQPCPINC THSCVDLDDK GCPAEQRASP LTSIISAVVG ILLVVVLGVV FGILIKRRQQ KIRKYTMRRL LQETELVEPL TPSGAMPNQA QMRILKETEL RKVKVLGSGA FGTVYKGIWI PDGENVKIPV AIKVLRENTS PKANKEILDE AYVMAGVGSP YVSRLLGICL TSTVQLVTQL MPYGCLLDHV RENRGRLGSQ DLLNWCMQIA KGMSYLEDVR LVHRDLAARN VLVKSPNHVK ITDFGLARLL DIDETEYHAD GGKVPIKWMA LESILRRRFT HQSDVWSYGV TVWELMTFGA KPYDGIPARE IPDLLEKGER LPQPPICTID VYMIMVKCWM IDSECRPRFR ELVSEFSRMA RDPQRFVVIQ NEDLGPASPL DSTFYRSLLE DDDMGDLVDA EEYLVPQQGF FCPDPAPGAG GMVHHRHRSS STRSGGGDLT LGLEPSEEEA PRSPLAPSEG AGSDVFDGDL GMGAAKGLQS LPTHDPSPLQ RYSEDPTVPL PSETDGYVAP LTCSPQPEYV NQPDVRPQPP SPREGPLPAA RPAGATLERP KTLSPGKNGV VKDVFAFGGA VENPEYLTPQ GGAAPQPHPP PAFSPAFDNL YYWDQDPPER GAPPSTFKGT PTAENPEYLG LDVPV (SEQ ID NO: 4) IL-13 MAFVCLAIGC LYTFLISTTF GCTSSSDTEI KVNPPQDFEI VDPGYLGYLY LQWQPPLSLD receptor α2 HFKECTVEYE LKYRNIGSET WKTIITKNLH YKDGFDLNKG IEAKIHTLLP WQCTNGSEVQ SSWAETTYWI SPQGIPETKV QDMDCVYYNW QYLLCSWKPG IGVLLDTNYN LFYWYEGLDH ALQCVDYIKA DGQNIGCRFP YLEASDYKDF YICVNGSSEN KPIRSSYFTF QLQNIVKPLP PVYLTFTRES SCEIKLKWSI PLGPIPARCF DYEIEIREDD TTLVTATVEN ETYTLKTTNE TRQLCFVVRS KVNIYCSDDG IWSEWSDKQC WEGEDLSKKT LLRFWLPFGFILILVIFVTG LLLRKPNTYP KMIPEFFCDT (SEQ ID NO: 5) MAGE-A1 MSLEQRSLHC KPEEALEAQQ EALGLVCVQA ATSSSSPLVL GTLEEVPTAG STDPPQSPQG ASAFPTTINF TRQRQPSEGS SSREEEGPST SCILESLFRA VITKKVADLV GFLLLKYRAR EPVTKAEMLE SVIKNYKHCF PEIFGKASES LQLVFGIDVK EADPTGHSYV LVTCLGLSYD GLLGDNQIMP KTGFLIIVLV MIAMEGGHAP EEEIWEELSV MEVYDGREHS AYGEPRKLLT QDLVQEKYLE YRQVPDSDPA RYEFLWGPRA LAETSYVKVLEYVIKVSARV RFFFPSLREA ALREEEEGV (SEQ ID NO: 6) EphA2 MELQAARACF ALLWGCALAA AAAAQGKEVV LLDFAAAGGE LGWLTHPYGK GWDLMQNIMN DMPIYMYSVC NVMSGDQDNW LRTNWVYRGE AERIFIELKF TVRDCNSFPG GASSCKETFN LYYAESDLDY GTNFQKRLFT KIDTIAPDEI TVSSDFEARH VKLNVEERSV GPLTRKGFYL AFQDIGACVA LLSVRVYYKK CPELLQGLAH FPETIAGSDA PSLATVAGTC VDHAVVPPGG EEPRMHCAVD GEWLVPIGQC LCQAGYEKVE DACQACSPGF FKFEASESPC LECPEHTLPS PEGATSCECE EGFFRAPQDP ASMPCTRPPS APHYLTAVGM GAKVELRWTP PQDSGGREDI VYSVTCEQCW PESGECGPCE ASVRYSEPPH GLTRTSVTVS DLEPHMNYTF TVEARNGVSG LVTSRSFRTA SVSINQTEPP KVRLEGRSTT SLSVSWSIPP PQQSRVWKYE VTYRKKGDSN SYNVRRTEGF SVTLDDLAPD TTYLVQVQAL TQEGQGAGSK VHEFQTLSPE GSGNLAVIGG VAVGVVLLLV LAGVGFFIHR RRKNQRARQS PEDVYFSKSE QLKPLKTYVD PHTYEDPNQA VLKFTTEIHP SCVTRQKVIG AGEFGEVYKG MLKTSSGKKE VPVAIKTLKA GYTEKQRVDF LGEAGIMGQF SHHNIIRLEG VISKYKPMMI ITEYMENGAL DKFLREKDGE FSVLQLVGML RGIAAGMKYL ANMNYVHRDL AARNILVNSN LVCKVSDFGL SRVLEDDPEA TYTTSGGKIP IRWTAPEAIS YRKFTSASDV WSFGIVMWEV MTYGERPYWE LSNHEVMKAI NDGFRLPTPM DCPSAIYQLM MQCWQQERAR RPKFADIVSI LDKLIRAPDS LKTLADFDPRVSIRLPSTSG SEGVPFRTVS EWLESIKMQQ YTEHFMAAGY TAIEKVVQMT NDDIKRIGVR LPGHQKRIAY SLLGLKDQVN TVGIPI (SEQ ID NO: 7) P53 MEEPQSDPSV EPPLSQETFS DLWKLLPENN VLSPLPSQAM DDLMLSPDDI EQWFTEDPGP DEAPRMPEAA PPVAPAPAAP TPAAPAPAPS WPLSSSVPSQ KTYQGSYGFR LGFLHSGTAK SVTCTYSPAL NKMFCQLAKT CPVQLWVDST PPPGTRVRAM AIYKQSQHMT EVVRRCPHHE RCSDSDGLAP PQHLIRVEGN LRVEYLDDRN TFRHSVVVPY EPPEVGSDCT TIHYNYMCNS SCMGGMNRRP ILTIITLEDS SGNLLGRNSF EVRVCACPGR DRRTEEENLR KKGEPHHELP PGSTKRALPN NTSSSPQPKK KPLDGEYFTL QIRGRERFEM FRELNEALEL KDAQAGKEPG GSRAHSSHLK SKKGQSTSRH KKLMFKTEGP DSD (SEQ ID NO: 8) k-Ras MTEYKLVVVG AGGVGKSALT IQLIQNHFVD EYDPTIEDSY RKQVVIDGET CLLDILDTAG QEEYSAMRDQ YMRTGEGFLC VFAINNTKSF EDIHHYREQI KRVKDSEDVP MVLVGNKCDL PSRTVDTKQA QDLARSYGIP FIETSAKTRQ GVDDAFYTLV REIRKHKEKM SKDGKKKKKK SKTKCVIM (SEQ ID NO: 9) Ep-CAM MAPPQVLAFG LLLAAATATF AAAQEECVCE NYKLAVNCFV NNNRQCQCTS VGAQNTVICS KLAAKCLVMK AEMNGSKLGR RAKPEGALQN NDGLYDPDCD ESGLFKAKQC NGTSMCWCVN TAGVRRTDKD TEITCSERVR TYWIIIELKH KAREKPYDSK SLRTALQKEI TTRYQLDPKF ITSILYENNV ITIDLVQNSS QKTQNDVDIA DVAYYFEKDV KGESLFHSKK MDLTVNGEQL DLDPGQTLIY YVDEKAPEFS MQGLKAGVIA VIVVVVIAVV AGIVVLVISR KKRMAKYEKA EIKEMGEMHR ELNA (SEQ ID NO: 10) MUC1 MTPGTQSPFF LLLLLTVLTA TTAPKPATVV TGSGHASSTP GGEKETSATQ RSSVPSSTEK NAFNSSLEDP STDYYQELQR DISEMFLQIY KQGGFLGLSN IKFRPGSVVV QLTLAFREGT INVHDVETQF NQYKTEAASR YNLTISDVSV SDVPFPFSAQ SGAGVPGWGI ALLVLVCVLV ALAIVYLIAL AVCQCRRKNY GQLDIFPARD TYHPMSEYPT YHTHGRYVPP SSTDRSPYEK VSAGNGGSSL SYTNPAVAAT SANL (SEQ ID NO: 11) Survivin MGAPTLPPAW QPFLKDHRIS TFKNWPFLEG CACTPERMAE AGFIHCPTEN EPDLAQCFFC FKELEGWEPD DDPMQRKPTI RRKNLRKLRR KCAVPSSSWL PWIEASGRSC LVPEWLHHFQ GLFPGATSLP VGPLAMS (SEQ ID NO: 12) hTERT MPRAPRCRAV RSLLRSHYRE VLPLATFVRR LGPQGWRLVQ RGDPAAFRAL VAQCLVCVPW DARPPPAAPS FRQVSCLKEL VARVLQRLCE RGAKNVLAFG FALLDGARGG PPEAFTTSVR SYLPNTVTDA LRGSGAWGLL LRRVGDDVLV HLLARCALFV LVAPSCAYQV CGPPLYQLGA ATQARPPPHA SGPRRRLGCE RAWNHSVREA GVPLGLPAPG ARRRGGSASR SLPLPKRPRR GAAPEPERTP VGQGSWAHPG RTRGPSDRGF CVVSPARPAE EATSLEGALS GTRHSHPSVG RQHHAGPPST SRPPRPWDTP CPPVYAETKH FLYSSGDKEQ LRPSFLLSSL RPSLTGARRL VETIFLGSRP WMPGTPRRLP RLPQRYWQMR PLFLELLGNH AQCPYGVLLK THCPLRAAVT PAAGVCAREK PQGSVAAPEE EDTDPRRLVQ LLRQHSSPWQ VYGFVRACLR RLVPPGLWGS RHNERRFLRN TKKFISLGKH AKLSLQELTW KMSVRDCAWL RRSPGVGCVP AAEHRLREEI LAKFLHWLMS VYVVELLRSF FYVTETTFQK NRLFFYRKSV WSKLQSIGIR QHLKRVQLRE LSEAEVRQHR EARPALLTSR LRFIPKPDGL RPIVNMDYVV GARTFRREKR AERLTSRVKA LFSVLNYERA RRPGLLGASV LGLDDIHRAW RTFVLRVRAQ DPPPELYFVK VDVTGAYDTI PQDRLTEVIA SIIKPQNTYC VRRYAVVQKA AHGHVRKAFK SHVSTLTDLQ PYMRQFVAHL QETSPLRDAV VIEQSSSLNE ASSGLFDVFL RFMCHHAVRI RGKSYVQCQG IPQGSILSTL LCSLCYGDME NKLFAGIRRD GLLLRLVDDF LLVTPHLTHA KTFLSYARTS IRASLTFNRG FKAGRNMRRK LFGVLRLKCH SLFLDLQVNS LQTVCTNIYK ILLLQAYRFH ACVLQLPFHQ QVWKNPTFFL RVISDTASLC YSILKAKNAG MSLGAKGAAG PLPSEAVQWL CHQAFLLKLT RHRVTYVPLL GSLRTAQTQL SRKLPGTTLT ALEAAANPAL PSDFKTILD (SEQ ID NO: 13) WT1 MGSDVRDLNA LLPAVPSLGG GGGCALPVSG AAQWAPVLDF APPGASAYGS LGGPAPPPAP PPPPPPPPHS FIKQEPSWGG AEPHEEQCLS AFTVHFSGQF TGTAGACRYG PFGPPPPSQA SSGQARMFPN APYLPSCLES QPAIRNQGYS TVTFDGTPSY GHTPSHHAAQ FPNHSFKHED PMGQQGSLGE QQYSVPPPVY GCHTPTDSCT GSQALLLRTP YSSDNLYQMT SQLECMTWNQ MNLGATLKGV AAGSSSSVKW TEGQSNHSTG YESDNHTTPI LCGAQYRIHT HGVFRGIQDV RRVPGVAPTL VRSASETSEK RPFMCAYPGC NKRYFKLSHL QMHSRKHTGE KPYQCDFKDC ERRFSRSDQL KRHQRRHTGV KPFQCKTCQR KFSRSDHLKT HTRTHTGKTS EKPFSCRWPS CQKKFARSDE LVRHHNMHQR NMTKLQLAL (SEQ ID NO: 14)

TABLE 3 Tumor Antigen Peptides Position in Tumor antigen sequence Peptide sequence Mesothelin   20-28 SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO: 15) Mesothelin   23-31 FLLFSLGWV (SEQ ID NO: 16) Mesothelin  530-538 VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO: 17) Mesothelin  547-556 (wt) KLLGPHVEGL (SEQ ID NO: 18) Mesothelin  547-556 (554L) KLLGPHVLGL (SEQ ID NO: 19) Mesothelin  547-556 KLLGPHVLGV (SEQ ID NO: 20) (554L/556V)) Mesothelin  547-556 KMLGPHVLGV (SEQ ID NO: 21) (548M/554L/556V Mesothelin  547-556 KMLGPHVLGL (SEQ ID NO: 22) (548M/554L) Mesothelin  547-556 KILGPHVLGL (SEQ ID NO: 23) (548I/554L) Mesothelin  547-556 YLLGPHVLGV (SEQ ID NO: 24) (547Y/554L/556V) Mesothelin  547-556 YLLGPHVLGL (SEQ ID NO: 25) (547Y/554L) NY-ESO-1  157-165 SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO: 26) NY-ESO-1  158-166 LLMWITQCF (SEQ ID NO: 27) FBP  191-199 EIWTHSTKV (SEQ ID NO: 114) FBP  245-253 LLSLALMLL (SEQ ID NO: 29) HER-2    5-13 ALCRWGLLL (SEQ ID NO: 30) HER-2    8-16 RWGLLLALL (SEQ ID NO: 31) HER-2   63-71 TYLPTNASL (SEQ ID NO: 32) HER-2  106-114 QLFEDNYAL (SEQ ID NO: 33) HER-2  369-377 KIFGSLAFL (SEQ ID NO: 34) HER-2  435-443 ILHNGAYSL (SEQ ID NO: 35) HER-2  654-662 IISAVVGIL (SEQ ID NO: 36) HER-2  665-673 VVLGVVFGI (SEQ ID NO: 37) HER-2  689-697 RLLQETELV (SEQ ID NO: 38) HER-2  754-762 VLRENTSPK (SEQ ID NO: 39) HER-2  773-782 VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO: 40) HER-2  780-788 PYVSRLLGI (SEQ ID NO: 41) HER-2  789-797 CLTSTVQLV (SEQ ID NO: 42) HER-2  799-807 QLMPYGCLL (SEQ ID NO: 43) HER-2  835-842 YLEDVRLV (SEQ ID NO: 44) HER-2  851-859 VLVKSPNHV (SEQ ID NO: 45) HER-2  883-899 KVPIKWMALESILRRRF (SEQ ID NO: 46) HER-2  952-961 YMIMVKCWMI (SEQ ID NO: 47) HER-2  971-979 ELVSEFSRM (SEQ ID NO: 48) IL-13 receptor   345-354 WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO: 49) α2  MAGE-A1  102-112 ITKKVADLVGF (SEQ ID NO: 50) MAGE-A1  135-143 NYKHCFPEI (SEQ ID NO: 51) MAGE-A1  160-169 KEADPTGHSY (SEQ ID NO: 52) MAGE-A1  161-169 EADPTGHSY (SEQ ID NO: 53) MAGE-A1  230-238 SAYGEPRKL (SEQ ID NO: 54) MAGE-A1  278-286 KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO: 55) EphA2   12-20 LLWGCALAA (SEQ ID NO: 56) EphA2   58-66 IMNDMPIYM (SEQ ID NO: 57) EphA2  120-128 NLYYAESDL (SEQ ID NO: 58) EphA2  162-170 KLNVEERSV (SEQ ID NO: 59) EphA2  253-261 WLVPIGQCL (SEQ ID NO: 60) EphA2  391-399 GLTRTSVTV (SEQ ID NO: 61) EphA2  546-554 VLLLVLAGV (SEQ ID NO: 62) EphA2  550-558 VLAGVGFFI (SEQ ID NO: 63) EphA2  806-814 VMWEVMTYG (SEQ ID NO: 64) EphA2  873-881 KLIRAPDSL (SEQ ID NO: 65) EphA2  883-891 TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO: 66) EphA2  925-933 FMAAGYTAI (SEQ ID NO: 67) EphA2  961-969 SLLGLKDQV (SEQ ID NO: 68) p53   65-73 wt RMPEAAPPV (SEQ ID NO: 69) p53  103-111 L2 m YLGSYGFRL (SEQ ID NO: 70) p53  139-147 wt KTCPVQLWV (SEQ ID NO: 71) p53  139-147 L2 m KLCPVQLWV (SEQ ID NO: 72) p53  139-147 L2B3 m KLBPVQLWV (SEQ ID NO: 73) p53  149-157 wt STPPPGTRV (SEQ ID NO: 74) p53  149-157 L2 m SLPPPGTRV (SEQ ID NO: 75) p53  149-157 M2 m SMPPPGTRV (SEQ ID NO: 76) p53  187-197 wt GLAPPQHLIRV (SEQ ID NO: 77) p53  217-225 wt VVPYEPPEV (SEQ ID NO: 78) p53  264-272 wt LLGRNSFEV (SEQ ID NO: 79) p53  264-272 7W m LLGRNSWEV (SEQ ID NO: 80) k-Ras    5-17 wt KLVVVGAGGVGKS (SEQ ID NO: 81) k-Ras    5-17 D8 KLVVVGADGVGKS (SEQ ID NO: 82) k-Ras    5-14 D8 KLVVVGADGV (SEQ ID NO: 83) k-Ras    5-14 V8 KLVVVGAVGV (SEQ ID NO: 84) k-Ras    5-14 C8 KLVVVGACGV (SEQ ID NO: 85) k-Ras    4-12 V9 YKLVVVGAV (SEQ ID NO: 86) EpCAM    6-14 VLAFGLLLA (SEQ ID NO: 87) EpCAM  174-184 YQLDPKFITSI (SEQ ID NO: 88) EpCAM  184-193 ILYENNVITI (SEQ ID NO: 89) EpCAM  255-264 KAPEFSMQGL (SEQ ID NO: 90) EpCAM  263-271 GLKAGVIAV (SEQ ID NO: 91) MUC1   12-20 LLLLTVLTV (SEQ ID NO: 92) MUC1  950-958, V5N7 STAPPVHNV (SEQ ID NO: 93) Survivin   18-28 RISTFKNWPFL (SEQ ID NO: 94) Survivin   53-67 M57 DLAQMFFCFKELEGW (SEQ ID NO: 95) Survivin   95-104 ELTLGEFLKL (SEQ ID NO: 96) Survivin   96-104 wt LTLGEFLKL (SEQ ID NO: 97) Survivin   96-104 M2 m LMLGEFLKL (SEQ ID NO: 98) hTERT I540-548 ILAKFLHWL (SEQ ID NO: 99) hTERT  572-580Y YLFFYRKSV (SEQ ID NO: 100) hTERT  988Y YLQVNSLQTV (SEQ ID NO: 101) hTERT   30-38 wt RLGPQGWRL (SEQ ID NO: 102) hTERT   30-38 V9 m RLGPQGWRV (SEQ ID NO: 103) hTERT  865-873 RLVDDFLLV (SEQ ID NO: 104) WT1   37-45 VLDFAPPGA (SEQ ID NO: 105) WT1  126-134 RMFPNAPYL (SEQ ID NO: 106) WT1 R1Y WT1126 YMFPNAPYL (SEQ ID NO: 107) WT1  187-195 SLGEQQYSV (SEQ ID NO: 108) WT1  235-243 CMTWNQMNL (SEQ ID NO: 109)

As noted above, the epitopes listed in Table 3 are exemplary. One of ordinary skill in the art would be able to identify other epitopes for these tumor associated antigens. In addition, the ordinary artisan would readily recognize that the epitopes listed in Table 3 can be modified by amino acid substitutions to alter HLA binding (e.g., to improve HLA binding). The epitopes may be modified at one, two, three, four, five, or six positions and tested for HLA binding activity. Based on such routine binding assays, those with the desired binding activity and those capable of inducing suitable T cell responsiveness can be selected for use.

The antigenic peptides described herein can be used in multipeptide vaccines or for loading antigen presenting cells which can then be used for vaccination. These epitopes stimulate a T cell mediated immune response (e.g., a cytotoxic T cell response) by presentation to T cells on MHC molecules. Therefore, useful peptide epitopes of Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1 include portions of their amino acid sequences that bind to MHC molecules and in that bound state are presented to T cells.

Humans have three different genetic loci that encode MHC class I molecules (designated human leukocyte antigens (HLA)): HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-C. HLA-A*01, HLA-A*02, and HLA-A*11 are examples of different MHC class I alleles that can be expressed from these loci. Humans also have three different loci for MHC class II genes: HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP. Peptides that bind to MHC class I molecules are generally 8-10 amino acids in length. Peptides that bind to MHC class II molecules are generally 13 amino acids or longer (e.g., 12-17 amino acids long).

T cell epitopes can be identified by a number of different methods. Naturally processed MHC epitopes can be identified by mass spectrophotometric analysis of peptides eluted from antigen-loaded APC (e.g., APC that have taken up antigen, or that have been engineered to produce the protein intracellularly). After incubation at 37° C., cells are lysed in detergent and the MHC protein is purified (e.g., by affinity chromatography). Treatment of the purified MHC with a suitable chemical medium (e.g., under acidic conditions, e.g., by boiling in 10% acetic acid, as described in Sanchez et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94(9): 4626-4630, 1997) results in the elution of peptides from the MHC. This pool of peptides is separated and the profile compared with peptides from control APC treated in the same way. The peaks unique to the protein expressing/fed cells are analyzed (for example by mass spectrometry) and the peptide fragments identified. This protocol identifies peptides generated from a particular antigen by antigen processing, and provides a straightforward means of isolating these antigens.

Alternatively, T cell epitopes are identified by screening a synthetic library of peptides that overlap and span the length of the antigen in an in vitro assay. For example, peptides that are 9 amino acids in length and that overlap by 5 amino acids can be used. The peptides are tested in an antigen presentation system that includes antigen presenting cells and T cells. T cell activation in the presence of APCs presenting the peptide can be measured (e.g., by measuring T cell proliferation or cytokine production) and compared to controls, to determine whether a particular epitope is recognized by the T cells.

Another way to identify T cell epitopes is by algorithmic analysis of sequences that have predictive binding to HLA (see, e.g., www.immuneepitope.org) followed by binding studies and confirmation with in vitro induction of peptide specific CD8 T cells.

The T cell epitopes described herein can be modified to increase immunogenicity. One way of increasing immunogenicity is by the addition of dibasic amino acid residues (e.g., Arg-Arg, Arg-Lys, Lys-Arg, or Lys-Lys) to the N- and C-termini of peptides. Another way of increasing immunogenicity is by amino acid substitutions to either enhance Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) binding by modifying anchor residues (“fixed anchor epitopes”), or enhance binding to the T cell receptor (TCR) by modifying TCR interaction sites (“heteroclitic epitopes”) (see, e.g., Sette and Fikes, Current Opinion in Immunology, 2003, 15:461-5470). In some embodiments, the epitopes described herein can be modified at one, two, three, four, five, or six positions. Even non-immunogenic or low affinity peptides can be made immunogenic by modifying their sequence to introduce a tyrosine in the first position (see, e.g., Tourdot et al., Eur. J Immunol., 2000, 30:3411-3421).

The peptides can also include internal mutations that render them “superantigens” or “superagonists” for T cell stimulation. Superantigen peptides can be generated by screening T cells with a positional scanning synthetic peptide combinatorial library (PS-CSL) as described in Pinilla et al., Biotechniques, 13(6):901-5, 1992; Borras et al., J. Immunol. Methods, 267(1):79-97, 2002; U.S. Publication No. 2004/0072246; and Lustgarten et al., J. Immun. 176:1796-1805, 2006. In some embodiments, a superagonist peptide is a peptide shown in Table 2, above, with one, two, three, or four amino acid substitutions which render the peptide a more potent immunogen.

Antigenic peptides can be obtained by chemical synthesis using a commercially available automated peptide synthesizer. Chemically synthesized peptides can be precipitated and further purified, for example by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Alternatively, the peptides can be obtained by recombinant methods using host cell and vector expression systems. “Synthetic peptides” includes peptides obtained by chemical synthesis in vitro as well as peptides obtained by recombinant expression. When tumor antigen peptides are obtained synthetically, they can be incubated with antigen presenting cells in higher concentrations (e.g., higher concentrations than would be present in a tumor antigen cell lysates, which includes an abundance of peptides from non-immunogenic, normal cellular proteins). This permits higher levels of MHC-mediated presentation of the tumor antigen peptide of interest and induction of a more potent and specific immune response, and one less likely to cause undesirable autoimmune reactivity against healthy non-cancerous cells.

Multipeptide Vaccines

In formulating a multipeptide vaccine it is not only important to identify and characterize tumor-associated antigens expressed on the cancer of interest, but also the combinations of different epitopes from the tumor-associated antigens that increase the likelihood of a response to more than one epitope for the patient. To counter the tumor's ability to evade therapies directed against it, the present disclosure utilizes a variety of specific peptides in the vaccine. Specifically, combinations or mixtures of at least one epitope of the following seven tumor-associated antigens are particularly useful for immunotherapeutic treatments: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. The effectiveness of a multipeptide vaccine comprising epitopes of the above seven antigens can be further improved by including in such a multivalent vaccine at least one epitope from at least one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven of the following tumor-associated antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1. More than one epitope from the same protein can be used in the multipeptide vaccine. For example, the vaccine may contain at least one, at least two, at least three, or at least four different epitopes from any of the fourteen tumor associated antigens listed above. In addition one or more epitopes from antigens other than the fourteen listed above can also be used (e.g., CT45, SP-17, SCP-1).

The multipeptide vaccines described herein encompass a mixture of isolated peptides comprising the following amino acid sequences: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:17; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:26; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:28; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:40; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:49; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:55; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:66.

Certain multipeptide vaccines described herein comprise a mixture of peptides corresponding to the following epitopes: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2.

The multipeptide vaccines of the present disclosure can contain mixtures of epitopes from HLA-A2 restricted epitopes alone; HLA-A2 restricted epitopes in combination with at least one HLA-A1 or HLA-A3 restricted epitope; HLA-A2 restricted epitopes in combination with at least one HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and/or HLA-DP restricted epitope; or HLA-A2 restricted epitopes in combination with at least one HLA-A1 or HLA-A3 restricted epitope and at least one HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and/or HLA-DP restricted epitope. The MHC class I and MHC class II epitopes can be from the same antigen or different antigens.

For the treatment of gynecological cancers (e.g., ovarian, fallopian tube) or peritoneal cancer, the multipeptide vaccine can comprise at least one epitope from the following seven antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. For example, a multipeptide vaccine for use in treating a gynecological or peritoneal cancer can comprise the following HLA-A2 restricted epitope peptides: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. The vaccine can also include at least one HLA-A1 restricted epitope sequences such as EADPTGHSY (SEQ ID NO:53) (MAGE-A1 epitope) and/or at least one HLA-A3 restricted epitope sequences such as SLFRAVITK (SEQ ID NO:111) (MAGE-A1 epitope) and VLRENTSPK (SEQ ID NO:39) (Her-2/neu epitope). A vaccine for use in treating ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer can further include at least one MHC class II epitopes (e.g., AKFVAAWTLKAAA (SEQ ID NO:112), the pan-DR epitope (PADRE); AQYIKANSKFIGITEL (SEQ ID NO:113), a modified tetanus toxoid peptide). In addition, a vaccine for the treatment of gynecological cancers (e.g., ovarian, fallopian tube) or peritoneal cancer can also include one or more epitopes (class I (e.g., HLA-A2) and/or class II) from at least one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven of the following tumor-associated antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1.

The multipeptide mixture can be administered with adjuvants to render the composition more immunogenic. Adjuvants include, but are not limited to, Freund's adjuvant, GM-CSF, Montanide (e.g., Montanide IMS 1312, Montanide ISA 206, Montanide ISA 50V, and Montanide ISA-51), 1018 ISS, aluminium salts, Amplivax®, AS15, BCG, CP-870,893, CpG7909, CyaA, dSLIM, flagellin or TLR5 ligands derived from flagellin, FLT3 ligand, IC30, IC31, Imiquimod (ALDARA®), resiquimod, ImuFact IMP321, Interleukins such as IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-12, IL-13, IL-15, IL-21, IL-23, Interferon-α or -β, or pegylated derivatives thereof, IS Patch, ISS, ISCOMATRIX, ISCOMs, JuvImmune, LipoVac, MALP2, MF59, monophosphoryl lipid A, water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions, OK-432, OM-174, OM-197-MP-EC, ONTAK, OspA, PepTel® vector system, poly(lactid co-glycolid) [PLG]-based and dextran microparticles, talactoferrin SRL172, virosomes and other virus-like particles, YF-17D, VEGF trap, R848, beta-glucan, Pam3Cys, Aquila's QS21 stimulon, mycobacterial extracts and synthetic bacterial cell wall mimics, Ribi's Detox, Quil, Superfos, cyclophosphamide, sunitinib, bevacizumab, celebrex, NCX-4016, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, sorafenib, temozolomide, temsirolimus, XL-999, CP-547632, pazopanib, VEGF Trap, ZD2171, AZD2171, and anti-CTLA4 antibodies. CpG immunostimulatory oligonucleotides can be used to enhance the effects of adjuvants in a vaccine setting. In one embodiment, the multipeptide vaccine is administered with Montanide ISA-51 and/or GM-CSF.

The multipeptide compositions of the present disclosure can be administered parenterally (e.g., subcutaneous, intradermal, intramuscular, intraperitoneal) or orally. The peptides and optionally other molecules (e.g., adjuvants) can be dissolved or suspended in a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In addition, the multipeptide compositions of the present disclosure can contain buffers and/or excipients. The peptides can also be administered together with immune stimulating substances, such as cytokines.

The peptides for use in the vaccine can be synthesized, for example, by using the Fmoc-polyamide mode of solid-phase peptide synthesis which is disclosed by Lu et al (1981) J. Org. Chem. 46, 3433 and the references therein. The peptides described herein can be purified by any one, or a combination of, techniques such as recrystallization, size exclusion chromatography, ion-exchange chromatography, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography using e.g. acetonitrile/water gradient separation. Analysis of peptides can be carried out using thin layer chromatography, electrophoresis, in particular capillary electrophoresis, solid phase extraction (CSPE), reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography, amino-acid analysis after acid hydrolysis and by fast atom bombardment (FAB) mass spectrometric analysis, as well as MALDI and ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometric analysis.

The peptides disclosed herein can have additional N- and/or C-terminally located stretches of amino acids that do not necessarily form part of the peptide that functions as the actual epitope for MHC molecules but can, nevertheless, be important for efficient introduction of the peptide into cells. The peptides described herein can also be modified to improve stability and/or binding to MHC molecules to elicit a stronger immune response. Methods for such an optimization of a peptide sequence are well known in the art and include, for example, the introduction of reverse peptide bonds or non-peptide bonds. Peptides comprising the sequences described herein can be synthesized with additional chemical groups present at their amino and/or carboxy termini, to enhance, for example, the stability, bioavailability, and/or affinity of the peptides. For example, hydrophobic groups such as carbobenzoxyl, dansyl, t-butyloxycarbonyl, acetyl, or a 9-fluorenylmethoxy-carbonyl group can be added to the peptides' amino terminus. Additionally, hydrophobic, t-butyloxycarbonyl, or amido groups can be added to the peptides' carboxy terminus. Further, all peptides described herein can be synthesized to alter their steric configuration. For example, the D-isomer of one or more of the amino acid residues of the peptides can be used, rather than the usual L-isomer. Still further, at least one of the amino acid residues of the peptides can be substituted by one of the well-known, non-naturally occurring amino acid residues. Alterations such as these can serve to increase the stability, bioavailability and/or binding action of the peptides of the disclosure. The peptides described herein can also be modified with polyethyleneglycol (PEG) and other polymers to extend their half-lives.

Once each peptide is prepared, it can be solubilized, sterile-filtered, and either stored by itself or mixed with the other peptides of the multipeptide vaccine and stored, at low temperatures (e.g., −80° C.) and protected from light.

Preparation of Antigen Presenting Cells

Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) are cells that display antigens complexed with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins on their surfaces. T cells cannot recognize, and therefore do not react to, “free” antigen. APCs process antigens and present them to T cells. T cells may recognize these complexes using their T-cell receptors (TCRs). Examples of APCs include dendritic cells, macrophages, B cells, and certain activated epithelial cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) include myeloid dendritic cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. APCs, suitable for administration to subjects (e.g., cancer patients), can be isolated or obtained from any tissue in which such cells are found, or can be otherwise cultured and provided.

APCs (e.g., DCs) can be found, by way of example, in the bone marrow or PBMCs of a mammal, in the spleen of a mammal, or in the skin of a mammal (i.e., Langerhans cells, which possess certain qualities similar to that of DC, may be found in the skin). For example, bone marrow can be harvested from a mammal and cultured in a medium that promotes the growth of DC. GM-CSF, IL-4 and/or other cytokines (e.g., TNF-α), growth factors and supplements can be included in this medium. After a suitable amount of time in culture in medium containing appropriate cytokines (e.g., suitable to expand and differentiate the DCs into mature DCs, e.g., 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 days), clusters of DC are cultured in the presence of epitopes of antigens of interest (e.g., in the presence of a mixture of at least one epitope from: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2; and optionally, epitopes from at least one, at least two, at least three, at least four, at least five, at least six, or at least seven of the following antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT and WT1) and harvested for use in a cancer vaccine using standard techniques.

The epitopes used for culturing with the APCs will depend on the type of cancer. For example, for treatment of gynecological (e.g., ovarian or fallopian tube cancers) or peritoneal cancer, one can choose at least one epitope (e.g., HLA-A2 epitope) from the following antigens: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. For example, the epitopes comprise: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:17; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:26; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:28; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:40; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:49; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:55; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:66. In another embodiment, the epitopes comprise: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. Optionally, one could also include epitopes from at least one, at least two, at least three, at least four, at least five, at least six, or at least seven, of the following antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT and WT1. In certain embodiments, the epitope that is used is an HLA-A2 epitope. In addition to the HLA-A2 epitopes, the APCs can also be expanded in the presence of MHC class II epitopes and/or other HLA epitopes (e.g., HLA-A1 and/or HLA-A3). Epitopes of the antigens (e.g., isolated, purified peptides, or synthetic peptides) can be added to cultures at a concentration of 1 μg/ml-50 μg/ml per epitope, e.g., 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 40 μg/ml per epitope. Subject-specific APC vaccines (e.g., DC vaccines) are produced, carefully labeled, and stored. Single doses of the peptide-loaded (e.g., 1 to 50×106 cells) APCs (e.g., DCs) can be cryopreserved in human serum albumin containing 10% dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) or in any other suitable medium for future use. In one embodiment, the APC-based vaccine is the Exemplary Vaccine 1 (a DC vaccine) disclosed in Example 4.

In one exemplary method of preparing APC (e.g., DC), the APC are isolated from a subject (e.g., a human) according to the following procedure. Mononuclear cells are isolated from blood using leukapheresis (e.g., using a COBE Spectra Apheresis System). The mononuclear cells are allowed to become adherent by incubation in tissue culture flasks for 2 hours at 37° C. Nonadherent cells are removed by washing. Adherent cells are cultured in medium supplemented with granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) (800 units/ml, clinical grade, Immunex, Seattle, Wash.) and interleukin-4 (IL-4)(500 units/ml, R&D Systems, Minneapolis, Minn.) for five days. On day five, TNF-α is added to the culture medium for another 3-4 days. On day 8 or 9, cells are harvested and washed, and incubated with peptide antigens for 16-20 hours on a tissue rotator. In one embodiment, the epitopes comprise: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:17; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:26; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:28; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:40; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:49; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:55; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with four or fewer, three or fewer, two or fewer, or one amino acid substitution(s) within SEQ ID NO:66. In another embodiment, the epitopes comprise: SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin; SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1; EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP; VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu; WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2; KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2. Peptide antigens are added to the cultures at a concentration of about 10 μg/ml to about 20 μg/ml per epitope.

Various other methods can be used to isolate the APCs, as would be recognized by one of skill in the art. DCs occur in low numbers in all tissues in which they reside, making isolation and enrichment of DCs a requirement. Any of a number of procedures entailing repetitive density gradient separation, fluorescence activated cell sorting techniques, positive selection, negative selection, or a combination thereof, are routinely used to obtain enriched populations of isolated DCs. Guidance on such methods for isolating DCs can be found, for example, in O'Doherty et al., J. Exp. Med., 178: 1067-1078, 1993; Young and Steinman, J. Exp. Med., 171: 1315-1332, 1990; Freudenthal and Steinman, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 57: 7698-7702, 1990; Macatonia et al., Immunol., 67: 285-289, 1989; Markowicz and Engleman, J. Clin. Invest., 85: 955-961, 1990; Mehta-Damani et al., J. Immunol., 153: 996-1003, 1994; and Thomas et al., J. Immunol., 151: 6840-6852, 1993. One method for isolating DCs from human peripheral blood is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,643,786.

The DCs prepared according to methods described herein present epitopes corresponding to the antigens at a higher average density than epitopes present on dendritic cells exposed to a tumor lysate (e.g., an ovarian cancer lysate). The relative density of one or more antigens on antigen presenting cells can be determined by both indirect and direct means. The primary immune response of naïve animals is roughly proportional to the antigen density of antigen presenting cells (Bullock et al., J. Immunol., 170:1822-1829, 2003). Relative antigen density between two populations of antigen presenting cells can therefore be estimated by immunizing an animal with each population, isolating B or T cells, and monitoring the specific immune response against the specific antigen by, e.g., tetramer assays, ELISPOT, or quantitative PCR.

Relative antigen density can also be measured directly. In one method, the antigen presenting cells are stained with an antibody that binds specifically to the MHC-antigen complex, and the cells are then analyzed to determine the relative amount of antibody binding to each cell (see, e.g., Gonzalez et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102:4824-4829, 2005). Exemplary methods to analyze antibody binding include flow cytometry and fluorescence activated cell sorting. The results of the analysis can be reported e.g., as the proportion of cells that are positive for staining for an individual MHC-antigen complex or the average relative amount of staining per cell. In some embodiments, a histogram of relative amount of staining per cell can be created.

In some embodiments, antigen density can be measured directly by direct analysis of the peptides bound to MHC, e.g., by mass spectrometry (see, e.g., Purcell and Gorman, Mol. Cell. Proteomics, 3:193-208, 2004). Typically, MHC-bound peptides are isolated by one of several methods. In one method, cell lysates of antigen presenting cells are analyzed, often following ultrafiltration to enrich for small peptides (see, e.g., Falk et al., J. Exp. Med., 174:425-434, 1991; Rotzxhke et al., Nature, 348:252-254, 1990). In another method, MHC-bound peptides are isolated directly from the cell surface, e.g., by acid elution (see, e.g., Storkus et al., J. Immunother., 14:94-103, 1993; Storkus et al., J. Immunol., 151:3719-27, 1993). In another method, MHC-peptide complexes are immunoaffinity purified from antigen presenting cell lysates, and the MHC-bound peptides are then eluted by acid treatment (see, e.g., Falk et al., Nature, 351:290-296). Following isolation of MHC-bound peptides, the peptides are then analyzed by mass spectrometry, often following a separation step (e.g., liquid chromatography, capillary gel electrophoresis, or two-dimensional gel electrophoresis). The individual peptide antigens can be both identified and quantified using mass spectrometry to determine the relative average proportion of each antigen in a population of antigen presenting cells. In some methods, the relative amounts of a peptide in two populations of antigen presenting cells are compared using stable isotope labeling of one population, followed by mass spectrometry (see, e.g., Lemmel et al., Nat. Biotechnol., 22:450-454, 2004).

Administration of Antigen Presenting Cell-Based Vaccine

The APC-based vaccine can be delivered to a patient (e.g., a patient having a gynecological cancer or a peritoneal cancer) or test animal by any suitable delivery route, which can include injection, infusion, inoculation, direct surgical delivery, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, the cancer vaccine is administered to a human in the deltoid region or axillary region. For example, the vaccine is administered into the axillary region as an intradermal injection. In other embodiments, the vaccine is administered intravenously.

An appropriate carrier for administering the cells can be selected by one of skill in the art by routine techniques. For example, the pharmaceutical carrier can be a buffered saline solution, e.g., cell culture media, and can include DMSO for preserving cell viability. In certain embodiments, the cells are administered in an infusible cryopreservation medium. The composition comprising the cells can include DMSO and hetastarch as cryoprotectants, Plasmalyte A and/or dextrose solutions and human serum albumin as a protein component.

The quantity of APC appropriate for administration to a patient as a cancer vaccine to effect the methods described herein and the most convenient route of such administration are based upon a variety of factors, as can the formulation of the vaccine itself. Some of these factors include the physical characteristics of the patient (e.g., age, weight, and sex), the physical characteristics of the tumor (e.g., location, size, rate of growth, and accessibility), and the extent to which other therapeutic methodologies (e.g., chemotherapy, and beam radiation therapy) are being implemented in connection with an overall treatment regimen. Notwithstanding the variety of factors one should consider in implementing the methods of the present disclosure to treat a disease condition, a mammal can be administered with from about 105 to about 108 APC (e.g., 107 APC) in from about 0.05 mL to about 2 mL solution (e.g., saline) in a single administration. Additional administrations can be carried out, depending upon the above-described and other factors, such as the severity of tumor pathology. In one embodiment, from about one to about five administrations of about 106 APC is performed at two-week intervals.

DC vaccination can be accompanied by other treatments. For example, a patient receiving DC vaccination can also be receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgical therapy before, concurrently, or after DC vaccination. Chemotherapy is used to shrink and slow cancer growth. Chemotherapy is recommended for most women having gynecological (e.g., ovarian cancer and fallopian tube cancer) or peritoneal cancer after the initial surgery for cancer; however, sometimes chemotherapy is given to shrink the cancer before surgery. The number of cycles of chemotherapy treatment depends on the stage of the disease. Chemotherapy may neutralize antitumor immune response generated through vaccine therapy. In addition, chemotherapy can be combined safely with immunotherapy, with possibly additive or synergistic effects, as long as combinations are designed rationally. Examples of chemotherapeutic agents that can be used in treatments of patients with gynecological (e.g., ovarian, fallopian tube cancers) or peritoneal cancers include, but are not limited to, carboplatin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, doxorubicin, etoposide, gemcitabine, oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, taxol, topotecan, and vinorelbine. In one embodiment, a patient is treated with cyclophosphamide (intravenously 200 mg/kg) prior to APC (e.g., DC) vaccination. For example, a patient can be intravenously injected with cyclophosphasmide (200 mg/kg) one day before, or between 24 hours and one hour before, APC (e.g., DC) vaccination. Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating drug that is used for treating several types of cancer. Cyclophosphamide is an inactive pro-drug; it is converted and activated by the liver into two chemicals, acrolein and phosphoramide. Acrolein and phosphoramide are the active compounds, and they slow the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the actions of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) within the cancerous cells. Cyclophosphamide is, therefore, referred to as a cytotoxic drug. Methods of treating cancer using DC vaccination in conjunction with chemotherapy are described, e.g., in Wheeler et al., U.S. Pat. No. 7,939,090. In some embodiments, a patient receiving DC vaccination has already received chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgical treatment for the gynecological or peritoneal cancer.

In addition to, or separate from chemotherapeutic treatment, a patient receiving DC vaccination can be treated with any other treatments that are beneficial for gynecological or peritoneal cancer. For example, a patient (e.g., one having ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer) can be treated prior to, concurrently, or after DC vaccination with a COX-2 inhibitor, as described, e.g., in Yu and Akasaki, WO 2005/037995. In another embodiment, a patient receiving DC vaccination can be treated with bevacizumab (Avastin®) prior to, concurrently, or after DC vaccination.

Immunological Testing

The antigen-specific cellular immune responses of vaccinated subjects can be monitored by a number of different assays, such as tetramer assays and ELISPOT. The following sections provide examples of protocols for detecting responses with these techniques. Additional methods and protocols are available. See e.g., Current Protocols in Immunology, Coligan, J. et al., Eds., (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; New York, N.Y.).

Tetramer Assay

Tetramers comprised of recombinant MHC molecules complexed with a peptide can be used to identify populations of antigen-specific T cells. To detect T cells specific for antigens such as HER-2, FBP and mesothelin, fluorochrome labeled specific peptide tetramer complexes (e.g., phycoerythrin (PE)-tHLA) containing peptides from these antigens can be synthesized and provided by Beckman Coulter (San Diego, Calif.). Specific CTL clone CD8 cells can be resuspended in a buffer, e.g., at 105 cells/50 μl FACS buffer (phosphate buffer plus 1% inactivated FCS buffer). Cells can be incubated with 1 μl tHLA for a sufficient time, e.g., for 30 minutes at room temperature, and incubation can be continued for an additional time, e.g., 30 minutes at 4° C. with 10 μl anti-CD8 mAb (Becton Dickinson, San Jose, Calif.). Cells can be washed twice, e.g., in 2 ml cold FACS buffer, before analysis by FACS (Becton Dickinson).

ELISPOT Assay

ELISPOT assays can be used to detect cytokine secreting cells, e.g., to determine whether cells in a vaccinated patient secrete cytokine in response to antigen, thereby demonstrating whether antigen-specific responses have been elicited. ELISPOT assay kits are supplied, e.g., from R & D Systems (Minneapolis, Minn.) and can be performed as described by the manufacturer's instructions.

Responder (R) 1×105 patients' PBMC cells from before and after vaccination are plated in 96-well plates with nitrocellulose membrane inserts coated with capture Ab. Stimulator (S) cells (TAP-deficient T2 cells pulsed with antigen) are added at the R:S ratio of 1:1. After a 24-hour incubation, cells are removed by washing the plates 4 times. The detection Ab is added to each well. The plates are incubated at 4° C. overnight and the washing steps will be repeated. After a 2-hour incubation with streptavidin-AP, the plates are washed. Aliquots (100 μl) of BCIP/NBT chromogen are added to each well to develop the spots. The reaction is stopped, e.g., after 60 minutes, e.g., by washing with water. The spots can be scanned and counted with a computer-assisted image analysis (Cellular Technology Ltd, Cleveland, Ohio). When experimental values are significantly different from the mean number of spots against non-pulsed T2 cells (background values), as determined by a two-tailed Wilcoxon rank sum test, the background values can be subtracted from the experimental values.

In Vitro Induction of CTL in Patient-Derived PBMCs

The following protocol can be used to produce antigen specific CTL in vitro from patient-derived PBMC. To generate dendritic cells, the plastic adherent cells from PBMCs can be cultured in AIM-V medium supplemented with recombinant human GM-CSF and recombinant human IL-4 at 37° C. in a humidified CO2 (5%) incubator. Six days later, the immature dendritic cells in the cultures can be stimulated with recombinant human TNF-α for maturation. Mature dendritic cells can then be harvested on day 8, resuspended in PBS at 1×106 per mL with peptide (2 μg/mL), and incubated for 2 hours at 37° C. Autologous CD8+ T cells can be enriched from PBMCs using magnetic microbeads (Miltenyi Biotech, Auburn, Calif.). CD8+ T cells (2×106 per well) can be co-cultured with 2×105 per well peptide-pulsed dendritic cells in 2 mL/well of AIM-V medium supplemented with 5% human AB serum and 10 units/mL rhIL-7 (Cell Sciences) in each well of 24-well tissue culture plates. About 20 U/ml of IL-2 can be added 24 h later at regular intervals, 2 days after each restimulation.

On day 7, lymphocytes can be restimulated with autologous dendritic cells pulsed with peptide in AIM-V medium supplemented with 5% human AB serum, rhIL-2, and rhIL-7 (10 units/mL each). About 20 U/ml of IL-2 can be added 24 h later at regular intervals, 2 days after each restimulation. On the seventh day, after the three rounds of restimulation, cells can be harvested and tested the activity of CTL. The stimulated CD8+ cultured cells (CTL) can be co-cultured with T2 cells (a human TAP-deficient cell line) pulsed with 2 μg/ml Her-2, FBP, mesothelin or IL13 receptor α2 peptides. After 24 hours incubation, IFN-γ in the medium can be measured by ELISA assay.

Pharmaceutical Compositions

In various embodiments, the present disclosure provides pharmaceutical compositions, e.g., including a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier along with a therapeutically effective amount of the vaccines described herein that include multipeptide vaccines and dendritic cells loaded with the antigens described herein. “Pharmaceutically acceptable carrier” as used herein refers to a pharmaceutically acceptable material, composition, or vehicle that is involved in carrying or transporting a compound of interest from one tissue, organ, or portion of the body to another tissue, organ, or portion of the body. For example, the carrier can be a liquid or solid filler, diluent, excipient, solvent, or encapsulating material, or a combination thereof. Each component of the carrier must be “pharmaceutically acceptable” in that it must be compatible with the other ingredients of the formulation. It must also be suitable for use in contact with any tissues or organs with which it can come in contact, meaning that it must not carry a risk of toxicity, irritation, allergic response, immunogenicity, or any other complication that excessively outweighs its therapeutic benefits.

In various embodiments, the pharmaceutical compositions described herein can be formulated for delivery via any route of administration. “Route of administration” can refer to any administration pathway, whether or not presently known in the art, including, but not limited to, aerosol, nasal, transmucosal, transdermal, or parenteral. “Parenteral” refers to a route of administration that is generally associated with injection, including intraorbital, infusion, intraarterial, intracapsular, intracardiac, intradermal, intramuscular, intraperitoneal, intrapulmonary, intraspinal, intrasternal, intrathecal, intrauterine, intravenous, subarachnoid, subcapsular, subcutaneous, transmucosal, or transtracheal. Via the parenteral route, the compositions can be in the form of solutions or suspensions for infusion or for injection, or as lyophilized powders.

The pharmaceutical compositions described herein can be delivered in a therapeutically effective amount. The precise therapeutically effective amount is that amount of the composition that will yield the most effective results in terms of efficacy of treatment in a given subject. This amount will vary depending upon a variety of factors, including but not limited to the characteristics of the therapeutic compound (including activity, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and bioavailability), the physiological condition of the subject (including age, sex, disease type and stage, general physical condition, responsiveness to a given dosage, and type of medication), the nature of the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or carriers in the formulation, and the route of administration. One skilled in the clinical and pharmacological arts will be able to determine a therapeutically effective amount through routine experimentation, for instance, by monitoring a subject's response to administration of a compound and adjusting the dosage accordingly. For additional guidance, see Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy (Gennaro ed. 21st edition, Williams & Wilkins PA, USA) (2005). In one embodiment, a therapeutically effective amount of the vaccine can comprise about 106 to about 108 tumor antigen-pulsed DC (e.g., 106, 0.5×107, 107, 0.5×108, 108). In some embodiments, a therapeutically effective amount is an amount sufficient to reduce or halt tumor growth, and/or to increase survival of a patient.

Kits

The present disclosure is also directed to kits to treat cancers (e.g., ovarian cancer, peritoneal cancer). The kits are useful for practicing the inventive method of treating cancer with a vaccine comprising dendritic cells loaded with the antigens or multipeptide vaccines as described herein. The kit is an assemblage of materials or components, including at least one of the compositions described herein. Thus, in some embodiments, the kit includes a set of peptides for preparing cells for vaccination. The kit can also include agents for preparing cells (e.g., cytokines for inducing differentiation of DC in vitro). The disclosure also provides kits containing a composition including a vaccine comprising dendritic cells (e.g., cryopreserved dendritic cells) loaded with the antigens as described herein.

The exact nature of the components configured in the kits described herein depends on their intended purpose. For example, some embodiments are configured for the purpose of treating ovarian cancers. In one embodiment, the kit is configured particularly for the purpose of treating mammalian subjects. In another embodiment, the kit is configured particularly for the purpose of treating human subjects. In further embodiments, the kit is configured for veterinary applications, treating subjects such as, but not limited to, farm animals, domestic animals, and laboratory animals.

Optionally, the kit also contains other useful components, such as, diluents, buffers, pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, syringes, catheters, applicators, pipetting or measuring tools, or other useful paraphernalia as will be readily recognized by those of skill in the art.

The materials or components assembled in the kit can be provided to the practitioner stored in any convenient and suitable ways that preserve their operability and utility. For example the components can be in dissolved, dehydrated, or lyophilized form; they can be provided at room, refrigerated or frozen temperatures. The components are typically contained in suitable packaging material(s). As employed herein, the phrase “packaging material” refers to one or more physical structures used to house the contents of the kit, such as inventive compositions and the like. The packaging material is constructed by well-known methods, preferably to provide a sterile, contaminant-free environment. The packaging materials employed in the kit are those customarily utilized in cancer treatments or in vaccinations. As used herein, the term “package” refers to a suitable solid matrix or material such as glass, plastic, paper, foil, and the like, capable of holding the individual kit components. Thus, for example, a package can be a glass vial used to contain suitable quantities of an inventive composition containing for example, a vaccine comprising dendritic cells loaded with epitopes from the antigens as described herein. The packaging material generally has an external label which indicates the contents and/or purpose of the kit and/or its components.

EXAMPLES

The following examples are provided to better illustrate the claimed disclosure and are not to be interpreted as limiting the scope of the disclosure. To the extent that specific materials are mentioned, it is merely for purposes of illustration and is not intended to limit the disclosure. One skilled in the art can develop equivalent means or reactants without the exercise of inventive capacity and without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

Example 1

Summary of Overall Study Design

This study is conducted in agreement with the directives and guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki and the International Conference on Harmonization Guidance for Industry on Good Clinical Practice Consolidated Guidance (ICH GCP-E6).

Before initiation of the study, the Protocol and the patient informed consent form (ICF) is submitted for review and approval to an Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Patients with histologically confirmed FIGO stage III or IV epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), primary peritoneal cancer (PPC), or fallopian tube carcinoma (FTC) who have no evidence of disease (NED) by CT or PET/CT and are in remission are screened for selecting subjects for treatment with an autologous vaccine (Exemplary Vaccine 1) consisting of the patient's DCs pulsed with synthetic MHC class I epitope peptides from seven tumor stem cell associated antigens (i.e., Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, Her2/neu, IL13Rα2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2).

The screening inclusion and exclusion criteria for this study are listed below.

Screening Inclusion Criteria:

  • 1. Subject must understand and sign the study specific informed consent
  • 2. Subject must be currently in clinical remission by clinical and radiological criteria (RECIST 1.1 criteria). [>15 weeks should have elapsed for subjects in primary remission and >12 weeks for those who are in secondary remission]
  • 3. Presence of ascites or pleural effusions are not exclusionary if these are asymptomatic and do not have positive cytology
  • 4. ECOG performance status of 0 or 1
  • 5. Life expectancy >6 months
  • 6. HLA-A2 positivity
  • 7. Adequate renal, hepatic and bone marrow function based on screening laboratory assessments. Baseline hematologic studies and chemistry profiles must meet the following criteria:
    • a) hemoglobin (Hgb) >9.9 g/dL
    • b) hematocrit >30%
    • c) absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >1000/mm3
    • d) platelet count >100,000/mm3
    • e) blood urea nitrogen (BUN) <30 mg/dL
    • f) creatinine <2 mg/dL
    • g) alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) <4× upper limit of normal (ULN)
    • h) prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT) <1.6× unless therapeutically warranted
  • 8. Written informed consent, Release of Medical Records Form and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) reviewed and signed by patient or legally authorized representatives.

Screening Exclusion Criteria:

  • 1. Subjects with any evidence of metastases as confirmed by imaging.
  • 2. Subjects receiving investigational study drug for any indication or immunological-based treatment for any reason
  • 3. Subjects with concurrent conditions that would jeopardize the safety of the subject or compliance with the protocol
  • 4. Subject has a chronic or acute hepatitis C or B infection
  • 5. Subject has positive test result at the screening visit for one or more of the following: HTLV-1/2 and/or Anti-HIV 1 Antibody (α-HIV-1)
  • 6. Subject requires or is likely to require more than a two-week course of corticosteroids for intercurrent illness. Subject must complete the course of corticosteroids 2 weeks before screening to meet eligibility.
  • 7. Subject has renal insufficiency as defined by a serum creatinine >2.0 mg/dl or BUN >30 mg/dl. Note: If creatinine is greater than 1.5×ULN, creatinine clearance must be greater than 60 ml/min.
  • 8. Subject with liver failure as defined by a serum total bilirubin >2.0 and/or serum transaminases >3× the upper limits of normal.
  • 9. Subject has hematopoietic failure at baseline as defined by one of the following:
    • Platelets <100,000/mm3
    • WBC <2,500/mm3
    • Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) <1,000/mm3
    • Absolute lymphocyte count <200/mm3
    • Hematocrit <30%
  • 10. Subject has an acute infection requiring active treatment with antibiotics/antivirals; Acute therapy must have been completed within seven days prior to study enrollment.
  • 11. Subject is receiving medication(s) that might affect immune function. Use of H2 antagonists are prohibited as are all antihistamines five days before and five days after each injection of study vaccine. However, NSAIDS including COX-2 inhibitors, acetaminophen or aspirin are permitted.

After signing informed consent and completion of screening procedures, patients undergo ˜10-15 liter apheresis on day −30 to −15 at the study site to isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to be used for preparation of study treatment.

The apheresis product is used to prepare autologous dendritic cells which are then pulsed with epitopes from the seven synthetic tumor stem cell associated antigens. Subjects receive five doses of 5-10×106 autologous dendritic cells pulsed with epitopes from the seven synthetic tumor stem cell associated antigens intradermally on days 0, 21, 42, 63, and 84 and Cyclophosphamide 200 mg/m2 the day before each vaccine. Subsequent induction vaccines are administered every three weeks during the Vaccine Induction Phase.

All subjects will have end of study (EOS) evaluation approximately 30 days following the fifth vaccine on day ˜114. Subjects who remain “No Evidence of Disease” (NED) have the option to enter the enter the Maintenance Phase where they will have the option to undergo maintenance therapy continuing the treatments every 4 weeks until depletion of vaccine or confirmation of progressive disease (PD).

Treatment schedules and safety and efficacy assessments are the same for all patients. Safety will be monitored throughout the study.

The study duration is expected to be 20 to 24 months. The study duration for each patient is dependent on the amount of study treatment produced for the patient, disease progression, occurrence of unacceptable toxicities and time needed for apheresis and preparation of study treatment. After enrollment apheresis will take place. This is followed by Vaccine production. Patients then can enter the Vaccine Induction Phase. The optional maintenance vaccination will continue until depletion of study treatment or confirmation of PD, whichever comes first. The study will continue until all patients complete their end of study (EOS) assessments.

Subjects are contacted every 6 months for 5 years for survival. This follow up can be contact by phone or in writing and it begins after the last completed clinic visit.

A schematic representation of the timeline of the Study is depicted in FIG. 11.

Example 2

Preparation of Autologous Dendritic Cells (DC)

Human leukocyte antigen A2 (HLA-A2 or A2) positive patients with ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or fallopian tube carcinoma are identified. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are isolated from such patients between days −30 to −15 using leukapheresis. The COBE Spectra Apheresis System is used to harvest the mononuclear cell layer. Leukapheresis yields about 1010 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). If these cells are not to be processed to prepare DCs shortly after they are harvested, the product is packaged in insulated led containers with temperature monitors to ensure that a temperature range of 2 18° C. is maintained.

For processing the PBMCs to prepare DCs, the PBMCs are allowed to become adherent for two hours at 37° C. in a tissue culture flask and washed in HBSS. PBMC are seeded at a density of 1.4×106 cells/cm2 in 185-cm2 culture flasks (Nunc, Roskilde, Denmark) and allowed to adhere for 2 h at 37° C. Non-adherent cells are removed by washing four times. Adherent cells are cultured in RPMI 1640 supplemented with GM-CSF (Berlex) and IL-4 (R&D systems) for 5 days. On day 5, 50 ng/ml clinical grade TNF-α (R&D systems) is added to the culture medium for another 3-4 days. On days 8-9, DCs are harvested and washed three times. The minimum number of DCs required to produce the study treatment is 7×109.

Example 3

Preparation of Vaccines

Dendritic cells, prepared as described in Example 2, are washed three times in dPBS, resuspended at 5-10×106 cells/ml in complete media and then co-incubated with tumor associated antigen peptides (20 μg/ml per antigen, reconstituted in 10% DMSO). The dendritic cells are incubated with the peptides at 37°/5% CO2 for 16-20 hours on a tissue rotator to facilitate interaction.

After production, each DC preparation is tested for viability and microbial growth, and undergoes additional quality testing prior to freezing. A certificate of analysis will be produced for each batch (one certificate of analysis for each patient). The DC preparation is then frozen as follows: DC are resuspended in cryo tubes at various concentrations (1×107 cells per ml in autologous freezing medium (10% DMSO and 90% autologous serum), then immediately transferred to 2 ml cryo tubes (cryo tube vials, Nunc, Brand Products, Roskilde, Denmark), slowly frozen to −80° C. by using a cryo-freezing container (Nalgene cryo 1° C. freezing container, rate of cooling −1° C./min (Fisher Scientific, CA)) and finally transferred into the gas phase of liquid nitrogen until use.

The study treatments will be labeled in such a way to clearly identify the patient. It is imperative that only the patient's own (autologous) study treatment be administered to the same individual patient. For these reasons, the blood specimen is procured and handled according to a strict protocol to ensure optimal quality of the specimen and minimum transport time to and from the processing facility, as well as to ensure the unique identification of the specimen at all times including injection back into the patient.

Example 4

Exemplary Vaccine 1

Exemplary Vaccine 1 is an autologous vaccine consisting of the patient's own DCs pulsed with 20 μg/ml of at least seven of the synthetic peptides listed in Table 4 from the following tumor antigens: mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, Her2/neu, interleukin-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2. Subject specific Exemplary Vaccine 1 will be produced for each subject.

TABLE 4 Tumor Antigen Peptides Antigen HLA-A2 epitope mesothelin SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO: 15)  or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO: 17) NY-ESO-1 SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO: 26) MAGE-1 KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO: 55) FBP EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO: 28) EphA2 TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO: 66) HER-2 VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO: 40) IL-13R α2 WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO: 49)

Exemplary Vaccine 1 is prepared and supplied as a solution for intradermal vaccine injection. The volume of Exemplary Vaccine 1 is 1 mL per vial; the volume administered to the patient is 1 mL. The concentration of pulsed dendritic cells in Exemplary Vaccine 1 is 1.1×107 cells/mL. The vaccine contains the following excipients: 31.25% Plasmalyte-A; 31.25% dextrose (5%)/0.45 NaCl; 7.5% DMSO; 1% dextran 40; and 5% human serum albumin. The vaccines are stored in liquid nitrogen storage or other climate led container capable of maintaining temperature at or below 130° C. and with adequate temperature monitoring until needed for use. The vaccine must be used within one hour of thawing

It is to be understood that Exemplary Vaccine 1 may be administered with other HLA-A2 epitopes of the seven tumor antigens than those listed in Table 4. In addition, MHC class II epitopes can also be administered in combination with Exemplary Vaccine 1.

Example 5

Preparation of Study Vaccine

Preparation should not begin until it is confirmed that the patient is at the study site and ready to receive study treatment. Upon confirmation, a single study vaccine (2 mL cryovial) corresponding to the patient's autologous cells is thawed in a 37° C. sterile water bath. The study vaccine is loaded into a tuberculin syringe (27 g needle) and is used within one hour of thawing.

Example 6

Protocol for Administering the Vaccine

All patients receive cyclophosphasmide (intravenously 200 mg/kg) every 3 weeks, one day before each vaccination per institutional procedures.

Induction Vaccination (Vaccines 1 to 5):

Eligible patients will receive one intradermal injection of their patient-specific vaccine (Exemplary Vaccine 1) once every 3 weeks for 12 weeks during the Vaccine Induction Phase. Vaccination is given on days 1, 20, 41, 62, and 83.

Maintenance Vaccination (Vaccines 6 and above):

Subject may undergo maintenance vaccinations after end of study (EOS) assessment. During the maintenance vaccination phase subjects receive vaccinations monthly (every 4 weeks) until depletion of vaccine or confirmation of progressive disease (PD), whichever comes first.

Administration

Vaccines will be administered as intradermal injections in the groin region. Following administration of vaccine, the patient is observed for at least 60 minutes for potential reactions. Such reactions are assessed and recorded as adverse events (AEs), as appropriate.

Example 7

Immunological Testing

The patient's cellular antitumor response is assessed by a tetramer assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay.

The tetramer assay will be used to assess responses to all peptides from: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, Her2/neu, IL13Rα2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2.

The first sample is taken from the apheresis product. For follow up samples (i.e., (every 3 weeks before each cyclophosphamide infusion and at EOS), approximately 80 mL blood samples is collected per time point and shipped to a central laboratory for analysis. Tetramer analysis, in vitro stimulation and ELISPOT will be done with tetramers and HLA peptides appropriate to the patient specific HLA type.

Example 8

Analysis of Expression of Tumor Antigens in Human Ovarian Tumor Samples

Objective:

To utilize flow cytometry-based analysis for antigen profiling of primary human ovarian cancer cells to determine if Exemplary Vaccine 1 includes suitable candidate proteins for immunotherapeutic targeting.

Materials & Methods:

Patients were entered into an Institutional Review Board-approved protocol and signed an informed consent prior to tissue collection. For enzymatic digestion of solid tumors, tumor specimen was diced into RPMI-1640, washed and centrifuged at 800 rpm for 5 min at 15-22° C., resuspended in enzymatic digestion buffer (0.2 mg/ml collagenase and 30 units/ml DNase in RPMI-1640) before overnight rotation at room temperature. Cells were then washed and cryopreserved as single cell suspensions for later use. Some solid tumor samples were physically dissociated using a Bellco Cellector device. For antigen profiling, seven solid tumor samples were enzymatically digested overnight and two were physically dissociated. On the day of study, cells were thawed and stained with indicated antibodies for extracellular protein analysis or fixed and permeabilized for staining of intracellular antigens. Multiparameter phenotypic analysis was performed on gated viable tumor cells (EpCAM 7AAD negative, CD45 negative) using antibodies specific for the following proteins: folate receptor alpha (FR) (also known as folate binding protein (FBP)), mesothelin, HER2/neu, IL-13Rα2, EphA2, NY-ESO-1, and MAGE-1 and compared to staining achieved using isotype antibody. Antigen positive established tumor cell lines were used as positive control whenever possible. Acquisition was performed on a BD Canto II flow cytometer and analysis performed using Flo-Jo software.

The antibodies used for the flow cytometric immunofluorescence analysis were as follows: antibodies against human CD45, EpCAM, HER2 and IL-13Rα2 were purchased from Biolegend (San Diego, Calif.); antibodies against FR/FBP and mesothelin were from R&D Systems (Minneapolis, Minn.); antibody against EphA2 was from Millipore (Billerica, Mass.); antibody against NY-ESO-1 was from Invitrogen (Camarillo, Calif.); and antibody against MAGE-1 was from Epitomics (Burlingame, Calif.). 7-AAD viability staining solution was purchased from BD Bioscience.

The flow cytometric immunofluorescence analysis was performed as follows: cells were resuspended in FACS buffer consisting of PBS with 2% FBS (Gemini Bioproducts). 106 cells in 100 μl were directly stained with fluoro-chrome-conjugated mAbs at 4° C. for 40 min in the dark. For unconjugated antibodies, second fluoro-chrome-conjugated antibodies were stained for another 20 minutes. For viability gating, cells were briefly stained with 7-AAD solution and analyzed for nonviable cell exclusion using a FACS Cantor II (BD Biosciences). Intracellular staining was according to eBiosciences protocol (San Diego, Calif.).

Results:

In the study of nine primary human ovarian cancers, 38.6%±13.4% of all viable cells from solid tumor cell suspensions were EpCAM tumor cells, while 28.6%±15.3% were CD45 leukocytes (Table 5). Leukocytes were comprised of CD14 monocytes, T lymphocytes, and low numbers of B lymphocytes, as well as other (non-T, B, mono) cells not defined within the applied antibody cocktail.

TABLE 5 T. 1 Composition of cells from primary solid ovarian % viable of total % of viable cells % of viable leukocytes Sample Date collected total tumor leuco CD45+ EpCam+ CD45− T cells B cells mono other 1796 Mar. 21, 2011 20.6 19.6 55.1 10.2 39.5 89.8 4.7 1.6 60.1 33.6 1797 Mar. 22, 2011 56.5 51.3 72.0 34.5 29.1 65.5 24.4 7.6 36.0 31.9 1807 May 17, 2011 52.1 68.0 78.9 24.3 49.3 75.7 9.3 0.5 44.8 45.4 1836 Aug. 24, 2011 53.9 57.2 46.6 25.8 30.7 74.2 5.2 0.5 67.6 26.8 1884 Apr. 18, 2012 71.6 85.1 43.1 20.1 32.9 79.9 30.8 9.7 18.4 41.1 1913 Sep. 24, 2012 56.2 86.4 85.2 23.5 23.7 76.5 29.9 ND 27.9 24.9  1922* Apr. 22, 2013 74.5 67.3 81.5 51.3 35.6 48.7 62.4 ND 14.7 12.8 1934 Dec. 12, 2012 85.1 86.1 88.5 13.7 68.4 86.3 47.5 ND 20.3 21.5  1938* Apr. 22, 2013 47.1 30.5 79.5 54.0 38.0 46.0 23.8 ND 61.5 6.7 average 57.5 61.3 70.0 28.6 38.6 71.4 26.4 4.0 39.0 27.2 STDEV 18.59 24.23 17.22 15.33 13.32 15.33 19.35 4.35 20.31 12.52 SEM 6.20 8.08 5.74 5.11 4.44 5.11 6.45 1.45 6.77 4.17 Note: This table contains samples prepared by enzyme digestion of solid tumor only except as noted (*)

Among viable tumor cells, a variety of cell surface or intracellular antigens were detected by flow cytometry. The expression of the antigens is shown in Table 6 below.

TABLE 6 Expression of tumor antigens in human ovarian tumor samples (%) Tumor FR/FBP Mesothelin Her-2 IL-13Rα2 EphA2 NY-ESO-1 MAGE1 1796TuTcE 99.20 4.72 72.30 35.60 17.60 19.20 7.39 1797TuTcE 99.50 4.29 99.80 24.60 4.57 60.80 0.59 1807TuTcE 99.90 6.53 89.90 34.00 9.76 44.50 0.85 1836 TuTcE 96.90 61.50 93.90 34.30 42.30 27.30 0.27 1884 TuTcE 98.20 4.50 42.00 18.60 12.90 11.50 14.50 1913 TuTcE 98.40 28.30 85.60 35.60 12.40 34.30 5.79 1922 Bellco 99.00 20.40 82.50 20.60 28.30 38.40 3.96 1934 TuTcE 88.30 2.58 12.30 3.42 8.27 5.65 29.10 1938Bellco 94.20 14.50 96.70 62.40 22.60 36.60 24.30 average 97.07 16.37 75.00 29.90 17.63 30.92 9.64 SD 3.71 17.98 27.61 15.28 11.14 16.13 10.09 SEM 1.24 5.99 9.20 5.09 3.71 5.38 3.36

Among all nine samples tested, high frequencies (>70%) of EpCAM+ cells were FR/FBP and HER2 (Table 6). Mesothelin, IL-13Rα2, NY-ESO-1, EphA2, and MAGE-1 were expressed at lower frequencies than FR and HER2. MAGE-1 and mesothelin expression was highly variable among specimens tested with some cells showing no detectable levels of expression.

Table 7 provides the values for mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of the antibodies to the Exemplary Vaccine 1 antigens in comparison to their matched isotype antibody control (Iso). Antigens that were expressed on the greatest frequency of EpCAM′ tumor cells, such as FR/FBP and HER2, were also expressed at the highest level, as shown by analysis of MFI.

TABLE 7 Expression of tumor antigens in human ovarian tumor samples (MFI) FR/FBP Mesothelin Her-2 IL-13Rα2 EphA2 NY-ESO-1 MAGE1 Tumor (Iso) (Iso) (Iso) (Iso) (Iso) (Iso) (Iso) 1796TuTcE 1982 178 300 142 96.1 262 189 (43.8) (117) (43.8) (43.8) (43.8) (94.3) (54.5) 1797TuTcE 7788   99.6 5340  118 65.7 344 165 (30.7)   (76.2) (30.7) (30.7) (30.7) (77.2) (41.4) 1807TuTcE 4897 104 467 187 104   295 194 (55.3)   (71.3) (55.3) (55.3) (55.3) (86.8) (55.8) 1836 TuTcE 13400  861 815 159 153   289 153 (50.5) (149) (50.5) (50.5) (50.5) (80.5) (48.9) 1884 TuTcE 1775 159 156   99.2 88.5 124 330 (49)   (133) (49)   (49)   (49)   (68.6) (48.8) 1913 TuTcE 2767 326 473 148 93.6 290 201 (44.6) (150) (44.6) (44.6) (44.6) (140)   (57.3) 1922 Bellco 1603 300 338   78.6 102   333 261 (24.1) (150) (24.1) (24.1) (24.1) (92)   (47.3) 1934 TuTcE  810 164 139   99.6 114   120 399 (58)   (129) (58)   (58)   (58)   (76.2) (52.6) 1938Bellco  588 151 687 207 91.5 675 516 (37)   (122) (37)   (37)   (37)   (166)   (192)   average   3956.67   260.29   968.33   137.60 100.93   303.56   267.56  (43.67)   (121.28)  (43.67)  (43.67)  (43.67)  (97.96)  (66.51) SD   4207.19   238.55   1654.63   42.76  23.60   161.48   123.79  (11.25)    (29.27)  (11.25)  (11.25)  (11.25)  (32.87)  (47.31) SEM   1402.40    79.52   551.54   14.25  7.87    53.83    41.26  (3.75)    (9.76)   (3.75)   (3.75)  (3.75)  (10.96)  (15.77)

Conclusions:

The above results suggest an opportunity for immune-based therapy for ovarian cancer. In particular, expression levels of FR/FBP and HER2 suggest that these molecules may allow for near universal therapy among ovarian cancer patients. FR is a strong candidate antigen for targeting based on its near ubiquitous expression among ovarian cancer cells within a tumor and among different patients. Mesothelin, IL-13Rα2, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-1, and EphA2 also represent reasonable targets for immune-based therapy for ovarian cancer.

In sum, these data provide a rationale for targeting antigens including FR/FBP, HER2, mesothelin, IL-13Rα, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-1, and EphA2 for women with ovarian cancer.

Example 9

Quantitative Real-Time PCR-Based Analysis of Gene Expression in Human Ovarian Cancer Cells, Cancer Stem Cells, and Ovarian Cancer Daughter Cells

Objective:

To compare the gene expression of the antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 in human ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells using real-time PCR (RT-PCR).

Materials & Methods:

1. Antigens:

Her-2, IL-13Rα2, mesothelin, EphA2, FOLR1, MAGE-A1, NY-ESO-1

2. PCR Gene Probes and Reagents:

HER2 gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs01001580_ml;

MAGE-A1 gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs00607097_ml;

IL-13Rα2 gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs00152924_ml;

EphA2, gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs00171656_ml;

FOLR1, gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs01124179_gl;

NY-ESO-1, gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs00265824_ml;

Mesothelin, gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs00245879_ml;

GAPDH gene expression assay, Life Technologies, Part# Hs02758991_gl;

TaqMan gene expression master mix; Life Technologies, part#4369016;

Rneasy Mini Kit RNA isolation (cat#74104, Qiagen); and

High Capacity cDNA Reverse Transcription Kit with RNase Inhibitor (cat#4374966, Life Technologies)

3. Cell Lines:

human ovarian cancer cells (AC) 882AC and 1031AC, cancer stem cells (CSC) 882CSC and 1031 CSC, ovarian cancer daughter cells (ADC) 882 ADC and 1031 ADC

4. Human Ovarian Cancer Cells (AC) Culture

Ovarian cancer cell lines 882AC and 1031AC were cultured in McCoy's 5A medium (Mediatech, Herndon, Va.) supplied with 10% fetal bovine serum (Omega Scientific, Inc.) and Pen Strep Glutamine (100×) (Invitrogen). All cells were cultured in 5% CO2 and at 37° C. in a cell incubator (Forma Scientific, Inc.).

5. Human Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) Culture

Human ovarian cancers cells (882AC,1031AC) were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium DMEM/F12 medium (Invitrogen) containing 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) as growth medium and plated at a density of 1×106 cells per 75 cm2 cell culture flask (Corning Inc.). The cells attached and grew as a monolayer in flasks. The monolayers were then switched into DMEM/F12 medium supplemented with B-27 (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), 20 ng/ml of basic fibroblast growth factor, and 20 ng/ml of endothelial-derived growth factor (Peprotech, Rocky Hill, N.J.).

6. Human Ovarian Cancer Daughter Cells (ADC) Culture

Human ovarian cancer stem cells (882CSC,1031CSC) were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium DMEM/F12 medium (Invitrogen) containing 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) as growth medium and plated at a density of 1×106 cells per 75 cm2 cell culture flask (Corning Inc.). The cells attached and grew as a monolayer in flasks in about 2-3 weeks.

7. RNA Extraction, cDNA Synthesis, and qPCR

Total RNA was extracted from cell lines 882AC, 882CSC, 882ADC, and 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC using Rneasy Mini Kit (Qiagen) according to the manufacturer's instructions. The complementary DNA was synthesized using High-Capacity® cDNA Reverse Transcription (cat#4374966), Life Technologies, CA) following the manufacturer's protocol.

The real-time PCR reactions were performed according to the manufacturer's instructions. The reaction consisted of 8.0 μl cDNA (42 ng), 10 μl TaqMan PCR Master Mix, 1.0 μl nuclease-free water and the following 1.0 μl TaqMan PCR probes (20×) for seven genes: Hs01001580_ml (HER2), Hs00607097_ml (MAGE-A1), Hs00152924_ml (IL-13Rα2), Hs00171656_ml (EphA2), Hs01124179_gl (FOLR1), Hs00265824_ml (NY-ESO-1), Hs00245879_ml (mesothelin) as well as an internal control Hs02758991_gl (GAPDH).

The reactions were performed on Bio-Rad iQ5 Real Time PCR system with the following thermal cycles: one cycle of 50° C. for 2 minutes and 95° C. for 10 minutes, followed by 40 cycles with a denaturation at 95° C. for 15 seconds and an annealing/extension at 56° C. for 60 seconds, extension at 72° C. for 30 seconds and a final extension step at 72° C. for 5 min. A melting curve was determined at the end of each reaction to verify the specificity of the PCR reaction. Ct Data analysis was performed using the Bio-Rad software supplied with the IQ5 Cycler system.

8. Data Analysis Using [2̂-Δ(ΔCt)] Method

Relative quantities for each antigen gene were calculated using the comparative [2̂-Δ(ΔCt)] method. The Ct value represents the cycle number at which the fluorescence passes the defined threshold. Delta Ct values (delta Ct=Cttest gene−Ctmean of control genes) were used to compare the difference of gene expression. Ct values of antigens gene expression levels were normalized to GAPDH and comparative Ct method [2̂−Δ(ΔCt)] was used to evaluate the gene expression.

Results:

The relative gene expression of HER2 in 882AC (FIG. 1A), 882CSC (FIG. 1B), and 882ADC (FIG. 1C) were 0.4414, 1.16 and 1.67, respectively, suggesting that the HER2 gene was expressed at a high level in ovarian cancer stem cells (CSC) and ovarian cancer daughter cells (ADC). The relative gene expression of EphA2 in 882AC (FIG. 1A), 882CSC (FIG. 1B), and 882ADC (FIG. 1C) were 1.51, 1.69 and 4.06, respectively, suggesting that EphA2 gene expression was expressed at a high level in ovarian cancer cells (AC), cancer stem cells (CSC), and ovarian cancer daughter cells (ADC). The relative gene expression of mesothelin was low in 882AC, 882CSC, and 882ADC. The relative gene expression of IL13Rα2 was low in 882CSC and 882ADC, and is undetectable in 882AC. The gene expression of FOLR1 was low in control cells and undetectable in 882AC, 882CSC, and 882ADC. Finally, the gene expression of NY-ESO-1 was undetectable in the control cells, as well as in 882AC, 882CSC, and 882ADC.

Next, the expression level of the above genes were compared amongst 882AC, 882CSC and 882ADC. As shown in FIG. 2, the relative gene expression of HER2 and EphA2 in ovarian cancer stem cells (882CSC) was higher than that in ovarian cancer cells (882AC), whereas the relative gene expression of mesothelin and MAGE-A1 in 882CSC was lower than that in 882AC. FOLR1 and NY-ESO-1 were undetectable in 882AC, 882CSC, and 882ADC. The relative gene expression of IL13Rα2 was low in both 882CSC and 882ADC, and was undetectable in 882AC.

The relative gene expression of HER2, EphA2, mesothelin, and MAGE-A1 were higher in daughter cells (882ADC) than that in cancer stem cell (882CSC), and the relative gene expression of IL13Rα2 in 882ADC was lower than that in 882 CSC. FOLR1 and NY-ESO-1 were undetectable in 882AC, 882CSC, and 882ADC.

The gene expression of the above-mentioned antigens was evaluated in other human ovarian cancer cells (1031AC), cancer stem cells (1031CSC), and ovarian cancer daughter cells (1031ADC). As shown in FIG. 3, the relative gene expression of HER2 in 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC were 0.6491, 0.6099 and 0.6799, respectively, suggesting that the HER2 relative gene expression was low. The relative gene expression of EphA2 in 1031AC, 1031CSC and 1031ADC were 1.46, 2.265 and 2.93, respectively, suggesting that EphA2 has increased gene expression in ovarian cancer cell (AC), cancer stem cell (CSC), and ovarian cancer daughter cell (ADC), compared to human ovarian epithelial cell (HoEpic). The relative gene expression of MAGE-A1 in 1031AC and 1031ADC are 1.38 and 1.34, respectively, which is a little higher than expression in the control cell. The relative gene expression of mesothelin was lower in 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC, and the relative gene expression of FOLR1, IL-13Rα2 was undetectable in 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC. The gene expression of NY-ESO-1 was undetectable both in the control cell as well as in 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC.

Gene expression of the above-noted genes was compared amongst 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC. As shown in FIG. 4, the gene expression of EphA2 in 1031CSC relative to 1031AC is 1.54, suggesting that the gene expression in 1031CSC is higher than that in 1031AC. The gene expression of HER2, Mesothelin, and MAGE-A1 in 1031CSC is at a lower level than that in 1031AC. The expression levels of HER2, EphA2, Mesothelin, and MAGEA1 in 1031ADC are higher than that in 1031CSC. The gene expression of IL-13Rα2, FOLR1, and NY-ESO-1 are undetectable in 1031AC, 1031CSC and 1031ADC.

Conclusions:

1. Based on the Ct value of q-PCR, HER2, EphA2, mesothelin, and MAGE-A1 were expressed in ovarian cancer cells (882AC, 1031AC), ovarian cancer stem cells (882CSC, 1031CSC), and ovarian cancer daughter cells (882ADC, 1031ADC). IL13Rα2 was also expressed in 882CSC and 882ADC, but was undetectable under the experimental conditions used herein in 882AC, 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC. FOLR1 and NY-ESO-1 were undetectable under the experimental conditions in ovarian cancer cells (882AC, 1031AC), cancer stem cells (882CSC, 1031CSC), or daughter cells (882ADC, 1031ADC).
2. The gene expression level of HER2 and EphA2 in 882CSC was 1.122 and 2.62 fold higher compared with 882AC, while mesothelin and MAGE-A1 were expressed at 0.5913 and 0.0174 compared with 882AC. The relative gene expression of HER2, EphA2, mesothelin, and MAGEA1 in 882ADC was 1.45, 2.39, 10.85, and 15.45-fold higher compared to expression in 882CSC. The gene expression of IL-13Rα2 in 882CSC was higher than that in 882ADC.
3. The gene expression level of EphA2 was 1.54 fold higher in 1031CSC compared with 1031AC, whereas the gene expression level of HER2, mesothelin, and MAGE-A1 in 1031CSC were 0.94, 0.94, and 0.39 compared with 1031AC. The gene expression level of HER2, EphA2, mesothelin, and MAGE-A1 in 1031ADC were 1.11, 1.3, 1.35, and 1.82 fold higher in 1031ADC compared with 1031CSC.
4. The gene expression of IL-13Rα2, FOLR1, and NY-ESO-1 was undetectable in 1031AC, 1031CSC, and 1031ADC under the reaction conditions used herein, suggesting that these genes were expressed at lower levels in these cells.

Taken together these data identify unique gene expression molecular signatures for antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 and provide a framework for the rational design of immunotherapy target for human ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells.

Example 10

Analysis of the Expression of Tumor Antigens in Human Ovarian Tumor Cancer Cells, Cancer Stem Cells, and Ovarian Cancer Daughter Cells Based on Flow Cytometric Assay

Objective:

To utilize flow cytometry-based analysis of ICT 140 antigens expression profiles in primary human ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells for potential immunotherapeutic targeting.

Materials & Methods:

1. Reagents

DMEM/F12: Invitrogen, Cat#11330-057 (Lot#1184632, Lot#1109388, Lot#891768);

McCoy's 5A, 1×: Mediatech, Inc, cat#10-050-CV (Lot#10050090, Lot#10050088);

B-27 supplement (50×): Invitrogen, cat#12587-010 (Lot#1192265, Lot#1153924, Lot#1079052);

Fetal Bovine Serum: Omega Scientific, Inc. Cat# FB-11 (Lot#170108, Lot#110300);

Pen Strep Glutamine: Invitrogen, cat#10378-016 (Lot#1030595);

Human FGF-basic: PeproTech, cat#100-18B (Lot#041208-1, Lot#051108);

Human EGF: cat# AF-100-15 (Lot#0212AFC05, Lot#0711AFC05, Lot#0211AFC05-1, Lot#0911AFC05-1);

BD Cytofix/cytoperm, Fixation and permeabilization kit. Cat#51-6896KC (Lot#81617); and

The antibodies used for the flow cytometric assay were as follows: PE-labeled antibodies against human EphA2, FOLR1, mesothelin were purchased from R&D Systems (Minneapolis, Minn.); antibodies against human NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-A1 were from Invitrogen (Camarillo, Calif.); PE-labeled antibodies against human HER2 and IL-13Rα2 were from Biolegend (San Diego, Calif.); PE-labeled antibodies against human IL-13Rα2 was from Abcam (Cambridge, Mass.); and antibodies against human mesothelin was from Santa Cruz Biotechnology (Dallas, Tex.).

2. Cell Lines

Primary human ovarian cancer cells (AC): 882AC, 1031AC, 1078AC, 1082AC, 1077AC, 1105AC, and 1064AC;

Human ovarian cancer stem cells (CSC): 882CSC, 1031CSC, 1078CSC, and 1082CSC;

Human ovarian cancer daughter cells (ADC): 882ADC, 1031ADC, and 1078ADC, and;

SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cell (American Type Culture Collection).

3. Human Ovarian Cancer Cells (AC) Culture

Human ovarian cancer cell lines (AC) (882AC, 1031AC, 1078AC, 1082AC, 1077AC, 1105AC, 1064AC, and SKOV3) were cultured in McCoy's 5A medium (Mediatech, Herndon, Va.) supplied with 10% fetal bovine serum (Omega Scientific, Inc.) and Pen Strep Glutamine (100×) (Invitrogen). All cells were cultured in 5% CO2 and 37° C. in a cell incubator (Forma Scientific, Inc).

4. Human Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) Culture

Human ovarian cancers cells (AC) (882AC, 1031AC, 1078AC, 1082AC) were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium DMEM/F12 medium (Invitrogen) containing 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) as growth medium and plated at a density of 1×106 cells per 75 cm2 cell culture flask (Corning Inc.). The cells attached and grew as a monolayer in flasks. Then, these monolayer cells were switched into DMEM/F12 medium supplemented with B-27 (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), 20 ng/ml of basic fibroblast growth factor, and 20 ng/ml of endothelial-derived growth factor (Peprotech, Rocky Hill, N.J.).

5. Human Ovarian Cancer Daughter Cells (ADC) Culture

Human ovarian cancer stem cells (ADC) (882ADC, 1031ADC, 1078ADC) were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium DMEM/F12 medium (Invitrogen) containing 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) as growth medium and plated at a density of 1×106 cells per 75 cm2 cell culture flask (Corning Inc.). The cells attached and grew as a monolayer in flasks in about 2-3 weeks.

6. Flow Cytometric Analysis

The human ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells (0.5×106 or 1×106) were resuspended in 1% FBS-PBS and stained with the following specific PE labeled antibodies: anti-HER2, anti-IL-13Rα2, anti-mesothelin, anti-EphA2, and anti-FOLR1. For MAGE-A1 staining, the cells were first contacted with the MAGE-A1 specific monoclonal antibody, and then labeled with 2nd PE-conjugated mAb.

For intracellular antigens (NY-ESO-1) staining, cells were permeabilized using Cytofix/Cytoperm kit (BD Biosciences) and stained with PE-conjugated 2nd antibody. Flow cytometric analysis was performed using a CyAn™ flow cytometer (Beckman Coulter) and the data was analyzed using Summit (Dako, Carpinteria, Calif.) software.

Results:

In this study, we tested the expression of the seven antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 in seven primary human ovarian cancer cells, four human ovarian cancer stem cells, and three human ovarian cancer daughter cells using a FACS assay. The expression of the tumor antigens in the human ovarian tumor samples (in %) are provided in Tables 8-10.

TABLE 8 Expression of tumor antigens in human ovarian tumor samples (%) Tumor ID FOLR1 Mesothelin HER2 IL13Rα2 EpHA2 NYESO1 MAGE1 882-CSC 12.36 2.24 84.33 15.67 75.59 0.1 0.11 882-AC 7.11 1.57 95.75 18.39 96.73 0.57 0.91 882-ADC 4.15 2.27 97.78 5.4 98.84 0.16 0.13 1031-CSC 13.01 2.12 49.93 9.67 84.61 1031-AC 3.52 1.36 97.57 5.03 96.78 0.59 15.28 1031-ADC 4.77 2.49 98.59 5.06 95.45 69.98 1078-CSC 56.83 2.58 83.94 31.47 50.24 1078-AC 4.26 1.55 99.16 58.81 98.99 1078-ADC 8.31 2.89 96.15 93.79 98.85 1085AC 3.17 1.65 86.87 31.55 84.13 16.4 53.5 Average 11.749 2.072 89.007 27.484 88.021 14.63 13.99 SD 16.233 0.51437 14.98453 28.7606 15.5317 27.85 23.01 SEM 5.13 0.163 4.73 9.09 4.911 11.37 10.29

Table 8 is a summary of the expression data for the Exemplary Vaccine 1 antigens in four primary human ovarian cancer cells, three human ovarian cancer stem cells, and three human ovarian daughter cells. The results indicate that the average antigen expression of HER2, EphA2, IL13Rα2, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, FOLR1, and Mesothelin were 89.01%, 88.02%, 27.48%, 14.63%, 13.99%, 11.75% and 2.07%, respectively. Mesothelin was expressed at low levels in ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells and ovarian cancer daughter cells. In contrast, HER2 and EphA2 were expressed at high levels in ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells.

Table 9 provides the values of mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of the antibodies to some of the Exemplary Vaccine 1 antigens in comparison to their matched isotype antibody control (Iso). The MFI results indicated that the MFI of isotype antibodies are lower than that of the MFI of antigen antibodies.

TABLE 9 Expression of tumor antigens in human ovarian tumor samples (MFI) FR Meso HER2 IL13Rα2 EpHA2 Tumor ID FR (Iso) Meso (Iso) HER2 (Iso) IL13Rα2 (Iso) EpHA2 (Iso) 882-CSC 15.35 6.48 10.6 6.48 21.86 6.48 19.13 6.48 41.4 18.55 882-AC 17.4 10.28 8.33 10.28 22.69 10.28 18.9 10.28 137.9 28.94 882-ADC 53.65 26.03 102.4 12.85 89.58 16.96 32.75 14.78 314.05 22.88 1031-CSC 8.47 47.21 24.66 47.21 6.5 47.21 10.59 47.21 152.6 47.21 1031-AC 37.07 6.63 42.83 7.35 48.02 6.75 16.3 6.75 113.75 6.75 1031-ADC 9.92 2.86 28.75 2.86 29.52 3 10.85 4.41 91.6 4.41 1078-CSC 142.9 29.82 17.73 29.82 81.21 29.82 95.99 29.82 64.49 29.82 1078-AC 35.87 19.97 25.42 19.97 48.15 19.97 42.58 19.97 251.6 94.52 1078-ADC 31.22 9.05 15.49 9.05 50.9 9.05 53.6 9.05 49.2 9.05 Skov3 106.3 58.12 79.95 58.12 500 58.12 121.8 58.12 113.5 13.54 Avg. 45.81 21.645 35.61 20.399 89.843 20.764 42.249 20.687 133.01 27.567 SD 44.65 18.765 31.34 18.828 146.45 18.723 38.263 18.643 88.081 26.849 SEM 14.11 5.93 9.91 5.95 46.17 5.91 12 5.89 27.85 8.488

As shown in Table 10, HER2, IL13Rα2, and EpHA2 were highly expressed in 1082AC, 1082CSC, 1077AC, 1105AC, and 1064AC, with their average expression levels in these cell lines being 82.03%, 44.97%, and 48.86%, respectively. HER2, EphA2, and FOLR1 were also expressed at the higher level in SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cell. Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, and MAGE-A1 were expressed at lower levels.

TABLE 10 Expression of tumor antigens in human ovarian tumor samples (%) Tumor ID FR Meso HER2 IL13Rα2 EpHA2 NYESO1 MAGE1 1082-CSC 3.96 87.64 53.15 1082-AC 5.22 98.25 7.25 0.66 0.17 1077-AC 1.55 83.63 88.73 14.02 1105-AC 3.28 78.59 4.5 83.71 1064-AC 1.27 62.05 71.22 Avg. 3.056 82.032 44.97 48.86 SD 1.659 13.306 37.853 49.28 SEM 0.74 5.94 16.92 22.04 SKOV3 89.17 1.23 99.5 0.51 99.67 Avg. 89.17 1.23 99.5 0.51 99.67 SD 4.2 0.94 0.63 0.19 0.01 SEM 2.98 0.54 0.36 0.11 0.009

Conclusion:

The primary human ovarian cancer cells analyzed in the above experiments were isolated from various patients' samples. The results described above demonstrate that the ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and ovarian cancer daughter cells, express HER2 and EphA2 at high levels, and express IL13Rα2, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, and FOLR1 at moderate levels (expression is between 27.49% and 11.75%). Mesothelin is expressed at a lower expression level on these cells; however, when this data is considered in combination with its RNA expression level based on qPCR assay, mesothelin is still considered a good candidate for targeting via immunotherapy.

Some of the Exemplary Vaccine 1 antigens were up-regulated in ovarian cancer stem cells than in ovarian cancer cells and daughter cells based on FACS data in Table 8-10.

Taken together, the above data show that the antigens of Exemplary Vaccine 1 are good immunotherapy targets for human ovarian cancer cells, cancer stem cells, as well as ovarian cancer daughter cells.

Example 11

Analysis of Binding Capacity of Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 Peptides with T2 Cells

Objective:

To evaluate the binding capacity of Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides and control peptide Mart1 with T2 cells.

Materials & Methods:

1. Cell Line and Peptides

TAP-deficient T2 cells expressing HLA-A2 were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) (cat#CRL-1992, Manassas, Va.) and maintained in Iscove's modified Dulbecco medium (cat#31980-030, Invitrogen, Grand Island, N.Y.) supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum (cat# FB-01, Omega Scientific Inc.) at 37° C. with 5% CO2. All peptides (Table 11) used in this study were synthesized from the American Peptide Company (Sunnyvale, Calif.). The HLA-A*0201 binding peptide Melan A/Mart-1 peptide (ELAGIGILTV (SEQ ID NO:110), cat#61013, Anaspec Inc, CA) was used as a positive control. MHC peptides, with more than 95% purity, were synthesized using automated solid phase techniques, purified by reversed phase-high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and their structures were verified by mass spectrometry. Peptides were obtained in lyophilized form, dissolved to a final concentration of 10 mg/ml in DMSO and stored at −20° C.

TABLE 11 Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides HLA-A2  peptide Product Antigen epitope Sequence # Lot # HER2/neu 773-782 VMAGVGSPYV 362469 S1206012T (SEQ ID NO: 40) IL-13Rα2 345-352 WLPFGFILI 331052 1206054T (SEQ ID NO: 49) EphA2 883-891 TLADFDPRV 358414 S1206033T (SEQ ID NO: 66) FOLR1 191-199 EIWTHSYKV 329542 SU11006T (SEQ ID NO: 28) NY-ESO-1 157-165 SLLMWITQC 315926 U02032T1 (SEQ ID NO: 26) Mesothelin 531-539 VLPLTVAEV 368371 1312092X (SEQ ID NO: 17) MAGE-A1 278-286 KVLEYVIKV 348003 1312143T (SEQ ID NO: 55)

2. Methods

The MHC peptide-binding affinity of each HLA-A2 peptide and control peptide Mart1 to HLA-A*0201 molecules was determined using the following protocol. The T2 cell line (cat# CRL-1992, ATCC, Manassas)(2×105) were incubated overnight at 37° C., 5% CO2 with peptide (75 μg/ml) in 100 μl of AIM serum-free medium (cat#12055-091, Life Technologies) containing human β2-microglobulin (cat#126-11, Lee Biosolutions Inc, St Louis). After the incubation, cells were washed with cold PBS and then, surface HLA-A2 molecules were stained with mAb of PE Mouse anti-Human HLA-A2 (BD Biosciences, cat#558570) and PE Mouse IgG2b, κ Isotype Control (cat#555058, BD Biosciences, San Jose,) for 30 min at 4° C., and washed twice with cold PBS. Whether these MHC peptides bind to HLA-A2 was determined by the upregulation of HLA-A2 molecules on T2 cells and demonstrated by measuring mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) using CyAn flow cytometry (Beckman Coulter, Inc).

Results:

In this study, the T2 cell binding assay was performed to validate the binding affinity of Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides and control peptide MARTI to HLA-A2 molecules. The relative binding affinity of the respective peptides was calculated from the mean fluorescence intensities (MFIs) as follows: The relative binding affinity fluorescence index (FI) of the respective peptides was calculated using the following formula: MFI(peptide)−MFI(untreated cells)/MFI(untreated cells). Relative binding affinities >1.5 were considered strong; 1.5 to 1.0, intermediate; and <1.0, low. HLA-A2 binding is shown as an increase in HLA-A2 MFI.

As shown in FIG. 5A, the synthesized Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides bound to HLA-A*0201 molecules with different affinities: peptides EphA2 p883 and mesothelin p531 apparently up-regulated the HLA-A*0201 molecules and showed high affinities to HLA-A*0201 molecules, whereas FOLR1p191 had a low affinity for HLA-A*0201.

As shown in FIG. 5B, the binding of these peptides, except FOLR1 p191, to the T2 cell line was demonstrated by an increase in MFI index. The MFI indexes of these peptides, except FOLR1 p191, are more than 1.5, indicating a high affinity binding. The positive control, Mart1 peptide, had an MFI index of 3.82. The MFI index of FOLR1 p191 is less than 1 indicating a lower affinity binding.

Conclusion:

The above results demonstrate that Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-2 peptides (HER2p773, IL-13Rα2p345, EphA2p883, NY-ESO-1p157, MAGEA1p278, and mesothelinp531) have high affinity binding with T2 cells, whereas the FOLR1p191 peptide has a lower binding capacity for these cells. These data suggest that these peptides can be used to pulse human HLA-A2 dendritic cells and used in HLA-A2 patients.

Example 12

Evaluation of Cytotoxicity Against Human Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells

Objective:

To evaluate the cytotoxicity of CTLs, induced by HLA-A2 peptides, on ICT 140 HLA-A2(+) human ovarian cancer stem cells.

In order to develop new immunotherapy strategy for ovarian cancer cells and cancer stem cells, the Exemplary Vaccine 1 antigens HLA-A2 peptides were proposed as potential targets. It was hypothesized that Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides could induce antigen-specific immune responses.

To test this hypothesis, effector CD8+ T cells were isolated and co-cultured with HLA-A2+DC pulsed with three Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides: HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2 p345, and EphA2 p883, as well as HER2 p339 to induce antigen-specific CTLs. Next, cytotoxicity against HLA-A2+882 CSC and 1031 CSC target cells was evaluated.

Materials & Methods:

1. Generation of Human Dendritic Cells

Human monocyte-derived DCs were generated using previously described methods. Briefly, monocytes were isolated from PBMC by magnetic immunoselection using EasySep human monocyte enrichment kit (Stem cell Technologies) based on the manufacturer's instructions, then cultured at 5×107/ml in 20 ml of GMP CellGenix DC serum-free medium (Cat#20801-0500, Cellgenix) supplemented with 1000 unit/ml of recombinant human GM-CSF (Cat#AF-300-03, Peprotech, Inc) and recombinant human IL-4 (Cat# AF-200-04, Peprotech, Inc), and the cells were harvested after 3 or 6 days of culture. The DCs were washed and plated in 6-well plates at a concentration of 5×106 cells/well IFN-γ (1000 unit/ml), and then monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA, 20-50 μg/ml) (Cat# L6895, Sigma, St. Louis) was added into the wells to mature the DC for 24 hr or 48 hrs. Prior to some assays, DCs were frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen.

2. CTL Induction and Detection of Mart1-Specific CD8+ by HLA-A*0201/Mart1 Tetramers

In order to evaluate antigen-specific immune responses, CD8 T cells were isolated from fresh or frozen apheresis by positive selection using Dynabeads® CD8 Positive Isolation Kit (Life Technologies, Grand Island, N.Y.) and co-cultured with autologous mDC for four weeks. DCs were added weekly. Briefly, mDCs were pulsed with synthetic peptides (10 μg/μl) for 6-8 hours at 37° C., and then treated with 20 ug/ml Mitomycin C (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.) for 25 min at 37° C. and 5% CO2. The mDCs (5×104 cells/well) were co-cultured with autologous CD8+ T cells (5×105 cells/well) in a 96-well plate at 37° C., 5% CO2 in a final volume of 200 μl CTL medium (IMDM with 0.24 mM Asparagine, 0.55 mM L-Arginine, 1.5 mM L-Glutamine and 10% heat inactivated human AB serum). Half of the medium was replaced every other day by fresh culture medium containing 40 IU/ml IL-2 and 20 ng/ml IL-7, the 3rd and 4th week 40 U/ml of IL-2 was replaced with 25 ng/ml IL-15. In the culture medium, peptides could also be added to the culture well at a final concentration of 1-2 μg/ml.

To evaluate the expansion of naive CTL, the Melan A/Mart-1 peptide (ELAGIGILTV (SEQ ID NO:110); Anaspec Inc, CA) was used as positive control peptide. CD8+ Mart1 tetramer was stained with the specific APC-conjugated HLA-A*0201 tetramer (Beckman Coulter, Brea, Calif.) based on the manufacturer's instruction. Briefly, CTLs (5×105) were stained with the tetramer 10 μl for 30 min at room temperature and then washed with PBS, and finally stained with anti-human CD8-PE labeled antibody (BD Biosciences) for 30 min at 4° C. and analyzed by CyAn flow cytometry (Beckman Coulter, Inc).

3. Killing Assay

The cytotoxicity against target cells (882CSC and 1031CSC) by CTLs recognizing the peptides HER2p339, HER2p773, IL-13Rα2p345, and EphA2p883 was evaluated using DDAO-SE and cleaved caspase-3 method. 882CSC and 1031CSC were labeled with 1 μM Cell Trace™ Far Red DDAO-SE (Life Technologies, Grand Island, N.Y.) for 15 min at 37° C. and washed with PBS twice following the manufacturer's instructions. DDAO-SE labeled target cells were mixed with effector cells at a 1:10 ratio in round-bottom 96 well plate and incubated overnight at 37° C., 5% CO2. The cells were washed, fixed, and permeabilized with Fix/Perm solution (BD Biosciences) and then stained for 30 minutes at 4° C. with 10 μl PE-labeled anti-cleaved caspase-3 monoclonal antibody, followed by Cyan flow cytometric analysis (Beckman Coulter, Inc).

Results:

The results of the cytotoxicity studies against human cancer stem cell 882CSC and 1031 CSC indicated that HER2p339, HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2p345 and EphA2p883 peptide-specific CTLs can efficiently recognize and lyse 882CSC and 1031CSC target cells expressing these antigens epitopes of HER2p339, HERp773, IL-13Rα2p345 and EphA2p883.

Conclusion:

The killing assay demonstrated that HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2p345 and EphA2p883 peptide-specific CTLs can efficiently recognize and lyse human ovarian cancer stem cells 882CSC and 1031CSC, and thus, supports the development of Exemplary Vaccine 1 to target human ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer stem cells.

Example 13

Microarray Dataset Analyses of ICT140 Gene Expression Profiles and the Correlation Between RNA Expression and Overall Survival (OS)

Objective: To compare gene expression of genes encoding the antigens from which the peptides in Exemplary Vaccine 1 are derived in human ovarian cancer and normal tissue from the TCGA microarray dataset and to determine whether the ICT 140 gene expression is associated with poor overall survival (OS) in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Background:

The goal of gene expression profiling studies is to identify gene expression signatures between tumor and normal tissue and to identify the correlation between gene expression and clinical outcome such as overall survival (OS) in order to discover potential biomarkers for treatment (e.g., for use as an immunotherapy target).

Methods:

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has analyzed mRNA expression, microRNA expression, promoter methylation, and DNA copy number in 586 high-grade serous ovarian cystadenocarcinoma that were profiled on the Affymetrix U133A platform and preprocessed with dChip (version Dec. 5, 2011) software as described in the manual (Nature, 2011:609; Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001; 9:31).

GSE9891 contains the expression data and clinical data of 285 ovarian cancer samples and has been deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) (GSE9891) (Clin Cancer Res 2008; 14:5198).

The microarray dataset was analyzed for the RNA expression of genes encoding antigens from which the peptides of the ICT140 vaccine are derived, in human ovarian cancer samples. In addition, this example compared the correlation between RNA expression and overall survival (OS) of ovarian cancer patients.

Gene expression analysis tools at tcga-data.nci.nih.gov/tcga/, cancergenome.nih.gov, and oncomine.org were used to examine the RNA expression of ICT140 genes in 586 human serous ovarian cancer samples in TCGA dataset.

The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the correlation between RNA expression and overall survival (OS) and the log-rank test was employed to compare OS across group. All analyses were performed using the web-based Kaplan-Meier plotter tool (kmplot.com). The overall survival curves and the number-at-risk were indicated below the main plot. Hazard ratio (HR; and 95% confidence intervals) and log-rank P values were also calculated.

Results:

As shown in FIG. 7, the mRNA expression values of HER2, IL-13Rα2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, FOLR1, and NY-ESO-1 in the TCGA ovarian cancer microarray dataset were 1.025, 1.463, 1.252, 1.46, 1.696, and 1.552, respectively, indicating that the expression of these gene in ovarian cancer tissue are higher than that in normal tissue. The expression value of mesothelin (MSLN) was −1.464, indicating that the expression of mesothelin in ovarian cancer tissue is lower than that in normal tissue.

The correlation between RNA expression of Exemplary Vaccine 1 genes (i.e., genes encoding proteins from which the Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides are derived) and overall survival (OS) was evaluated in ovarian cancer patients using a TCGA microarray dataset. The analysis involved comparing survival in patient groups with “high” and ‘low” RNA expression of these genes. For the TCGA dataset, the Kaplan-Meier results of overall survival (OS) with the patients “high” and “low” expression groups is shown in FIG. 8. The results in FIG. 8 show that patient groups with “high” RNA expression of genes HER2, EphA2, FOLR1, MSLN (mesothelin), and MAGE-A1 had poor overall survival (OS) with statistical significance (p<0.05), whereas, there was no significant difference between overall survival (OS) and the RNA expression of IL-13Rα2 and NY-ESO-1 genes.

In order to validate the correlation between overall survival (OS) and RNA expression of IL-13Rα2 and NY-ESO-1, we examined the GSE9891 dataset and found that patient groups with “high” RNA expression of IL-13Rα2 and NY-ESO-1 had poor overall survival (OS) (FIG. 9).

Conclusion:

These findings demonstrate that HER2, EphA2, FOLR1, MSLN, MAGEA1, IL-13Rα2 and NY-ESO-1 (the genes encoding proteins from which the Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides are derived) are associated with poor overall survival (OS) in patients with high-grade ovarian cancer based on TCGA and GSE9891 datasets. This data provides the basis for the rational design of novel treatment strategies including immunotherapy.

Example 14

IFN-γ ELISPOT Assay of the Antigen-Specific T Cell Response

Objective:

To conduct an IFN-γ ELISPOT assay to determine the antigen-specific T cell response to HER2p339, and the three Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides: HER2p743, 13Rα2p345, and EphA2p883

In order to develop a new generation of immunotherapy targets for ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer stem cells, we proposed the following antigens HLA-A2 peptides as potential targets. We hypothesize that ICT 140 HLA-A2 peptides could induce antigen-specific immune response.

To test this hypothesis, we isolated effector CD8+ T cells and co-cultured with HLA-A2 DC pulsed with HER2 p339 and three ICT 140 peptides HER2p773, IL-13Rα2p345, EphA2p883 to induce antigen-specific CTLs. Then, we evaluated the antigen-specific T cell response in an IFN-γ ELISPOT assay.

Materials & Methods:

Generation of Human Dendritic Cells

Human monocyte-derived DC was generated using previously described methods. Briefly, monocytes were isolated from PBMC by magnetic immunoselection using EasySep human monocyte enrichment kit (Stem Cell Technologies) in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and then cultured at 5×107/ml in 20 ml of GMP CellGenix DC serum-free medium (Cat#20801-0500, Cellgenix) supplemented with 1000 unit/ml of recombinant human GM-CSF (Cat#AF-300-03, Peprotech, Inc) and recombinant human IL-4(Cat# AF-200-04, Peprotech, Inc). Cells were harvested after 3 or 6 days of culture. The DCs were washed and plated in 6-well plates at a concentration of 5×106 cells/well IFN-γ (1000 unit/ml) and monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA, 20-50 μg/ml) was added into the wells to mature the DC for 24 hr or 48 hrs. Prior to some assays, DC was frozen and stored into liquid nitrogen.

CTL-Induction and Detection of Mart1-Specific CD8+ by HLA-A*0201/Mart1 Tetramers

In order to evaluate antigen-specific immune responses, CD8 T cells were isolated from fresh or frozen apheresis by positive selection using Dynabeads® CD8 Positive Isolation Kit (Life Technologies, Grand Island, N.Y.) and co-cultured with autologous mDC for four weeks. DCs were added weekly. Briefly, mDC was pulsed with synthetic peptides (10 μg/μl) for 6-8 hours at 37° C., and then treated with 20 μg/ml Mitomycin C (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.) for 25 min at 37° C. and 5% CO2. The mDCs (5×104 cells/well) were co-cultured with autologous CD8+ T cells (5×105 cells/well) in a 96-well plate at 37° C., 5% CO2 in a final volume of 200 μl CTL medium (IMDM with 0.24 mM Asparagine, 0.55 mM L-Arginine, 1.5 mM L-Glutamine and 10% heat inactivated human AB serum). Half of the medium was replaced every other day by fresh culture medium containing 40 IU/ml IL-2 and 20 ng/ml IL-7, and in the 3rd and 4th week 40 IU/ml of IL-2 was replaced with 25 ng/ml of IL-15. Peptides also could be added to the culture well at a final concentration of 1-2 μg/ml.

IFN-γ ELISPOT Assay

Antigen-specific immune responses were evaluated by the IFN-γ Elispot kit (BD Biosciences) following previously described methods. Briefly, 1×105 CTL cells were co-cultured with 7.5×104 T2 cells pulsed with or without 10 μg/ml of peptides and seeded into 96-well plates for 20 hours. CTL cells without T2 cells and CTL plus 5 μg/ml PHA were set as negative and positive controls, respectively. The colored spots, representing cytokine-producing cells, were counted under a dissecting microscope. The results were evaluated by an automated ELISPOT reader system using KS ELISPOT 4.3 software.

Results:

As shown in FIG. 10, CTLs produce more IFN-γ against T2 cell loaded with the peptides compared with T2 control (no peptides). The results of IFN-γ ELISPOT assay indicated that HER2p339 and ICT140 three peptides of HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2p345 and EphA2p883 peptides specific CTLs can efficiently recognize T2 pulsed with these antigens and boost the T cell immune response.

Conclusion:

The IFN-γ ELISPOT assay demonstrated that HER2p339 peptides and Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2p345 and EphA2p883 peptides-specific CTLs can efficiently recognize these antigens containing epitopes and induce T2 cell immune response. This result forms the basis to further develop immunotherapy target for human ovarian cancer cells and ovarian cancer stem cells as well as ovarian cancer daughter cells.

Example 15

Evaluation of Cytotoxicity Against Human Ovarian Cancer Cells

Objective:

To evaluate the cytotoxicity of CTLs, induced by the seven Exemplary Vaccine 1 HLA-A2 peptides on Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptide HLA-A2(+) human ovarian cancer cells.

Methods:

Effector CD8+ T cells are isolated and co-cultured with HLA-A2+DC pulsed with the following seven Exemplary Vaccine 1 peptides: HER2 p773, IL-13Rα2 p345, EphA2 p883, FOLR1 p191, NY-ESO-1 p157, mesothelin p531, and MAGE-A1 p278 to induce antigen-specific CTLs. Next, cytotoxicity against HLA-A2+ ovarian cancer target cells is evaluated. The methods that will be used in the experiment are described in Example 12.

Other Embodiments

It is to be understood that while the invention has been described in conjunction with the detailed description thereof, the foregoing description is intended to illustrate and not limit the scope of the disclosure. Other aspects, advantages, and modifications are within the scope of the following claims.

Claims

1. A composition comprising a mixture of at least one major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I peptide epitope of at least seven antigens selected from the group consisting of mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1.

2. (canceled)

3. The composition of claim 1, wherein the MHC class I peptide epitope is an HLA-A2 epitope.

4. The composition of claim 1, comprising a mixture of at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the following seven antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, and EphA2.

5. The composition of claim 4, wherein the at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the seven antigens comprise the following peptide sequences:

SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin;
SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1;
EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP;
VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu;
WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2;
KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and
TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2.

6. The composition of claim 5, further comprising at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of at least one of the following seven antigens: p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT 1.

7. The composition of claim 5, wherein the peptides are synthetic.

8. (canceled)

9. The composition of claim 5, further comprising at least one MHC class II peptide epitope and/or an adjuvant.

10. The composition of claim 5, further comprising a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

11. (canceled)

12. A composition comprising isolated dendritic cells, wherein the dendritic cells present peptide sequences on their cell surface, wherein the peptide sequences comprise at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of at least seven of the following antigens: Mesothelin, NY-ESO-1, FBP, HER-2/neu, IL-13 receptor α2, MAGE-A1, EphA2, p53, k-Ras, Ep-CAM, MUC1, Survivin, hTERT, and WT1.

13. The composition of claim 12, wherein the MHC class I peptide epitope is an HLA-A2 peptide epitope.

14. (canceled)

15. The composition of claim 12, wherein the MHC class I peptide epitopes comprise the following peptide sequences:

SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) from Mesothelin;
SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) from NY-ESO-1;
EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) from FBP;
VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) from HER2/neu;
WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) from IL-13Rα2;
KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) from MAGE-A1; and
TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) from EphA2.

16. The composition of claim 15, wherein the dendritic cells acquired the peptide epitopes in vitro by exposure to synthetic peptides comprising the peptide epitopes.

17.-19. (canceled)

20. A method of treating a gynecological or peritoneal cancer, comprising administering to a subject in need thereof an effective amount of a composition of claim 5.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the gynecological cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer or fallopian tube cancer and the peritoneal cancer is primary peritoneal cancer.

22. (canceled)

23. The method of claim 20, further comprising administering a chemotherapeutic agent prior to administering the subject with the composition.

24.-25. (canceled)

26. A method of treating a gynecological or peritoneal cancer, comprising administering to a subject in need thereof an effective amount of a composition of claim 15.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the gynecological cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer and the peritoneal cancer is primary peritoneal cancer.

28. (canceled)

29. The method of claim 26, further comprising administering a chemotherapeutic agent prior to administering the subject with the composition.

30.-40. (canceled)

41. The composition of claim 4, wherein the at least one MHC class I peptide epitope of the seven antigens comprise the following peptide sequences:

SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:17;
SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:26;
EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:28;
VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:40;
WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:49;
KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:55; and
TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:66.

42. The composition of claim 12, wherein the MHC class I peptide epitopes comprise the following amino acid sequences:

SLLFLLFSL (SEQ ID NO:15) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:15, or VLPLTVAEV (SEQ ID NO:17) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:17;
SLLMWITQC (SEQ ID NO:26) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:26;
EIWTHSYKV (SEQ ID NO:28) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:28;
VMAGVGSPYV (SEQ ID NO:40) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:40;
WLPFGFILI (SEQ ID NO:49) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:49;
KVLEYVIKV (SEQ ID NO:55) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:55; and
TLADFDPRV (SEQ ID NO:66) with two or fewer amino acid substitutions within SEQ ID NO:66.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140234351
Type: Application
Filed: Feb 14, 2014
Publication Date: Aug 21, 2014
Inventors: James G. Bender (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), John S. Yu (Los Angeles, CA)
Application Number: 14/181,417