While the interest in cancer vaccines is renewed by some results in vaccine-based clinical trials, the premise still suffers from the incomplete concept of a successful vaccine. Future progress may come from matching preclinical data with clinical expectations while taking a step back to understand the systems perspective. A field that benefits most from this bird’s eye view is tumor immunology. For instance, the accumulation over the last three decades of clear associations of T and B cell cross-reactivity between a set of host targets of autoimmunity and microbial antigens strongly supports a pathogenic role for molecular mimicry. Mimicry on its turn invites the concept of networks of molecular interactions. The intentional and rational approach to exploit mimicry in cancer vaccine development, while littered with failure, has provided also some insight into success. Here, we visit successes and underlying rationale to lend to future development of mimetic vaccines in immune-oncology.
Part of the book: Cancer Immunotherapy and Biological Cancer Treatments