The combination of very-small size proteoliposomes and alum is a safe adjuvant alternative for inducing anti-EGF antibodies: a preclinical study

Published on: 19th September, 2022

Immunization with human recombinant EGF chemically bound to the P64k protein of Neisseria meningitides (hrEGF-P64k) and adjuvanted in Montanide ISA 51 VG (Montanide) is an efficient strategy to induce polyclonal antibodies (PAbs) response targeting this self -antigen in cancer patients, which is the basis of the CIMAvax-EGF vaccine. The neutralizing potential of EGF-specific induced PAbs supports promising clinical data obtained to date with this vaccine. Herein, we evaluated a combination of very small-size proteoliposomes (VSSP) and aluminum hydroxide (Alum) as a novel adjuvant to induce specific PAbs with neutralizing and anti-proliferative properties on tumor cells, considering EGF as a model antigen. Toxicity at the injection site was not detected for the vaccine formulation containing VSSP/Alum, and it was immunogenic in BALB/c mice, as evidenced by the induction of high titers of EGF-specific polyclonal antibodies (PAbs). While schedule optimization increased the magnitude of the PAbs response induced by VSSP/Alum, induced PAbs’s avidity and intrinsic neutralizing potential were comparable to the humoral response induced by Montanide. Also, VSSP addition switched IgG subclasses distribution into a Th1-like pattern, as obtained with Montanide and desirable for a cancer vaccine. Finally, equivalent PAbs titers were induced by the vaccine formulations adjuvanted in VSSP/Alum or Montanide in tumor-bearing-mice, and immunosuppressed mice, suggesting the feasibility of the VSSP/Alum combined adjuvant for inducing anti-EGF antibodies in cancer patients at advanced stages of the disease.
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