The cloning of the genes encoding cancer antigens has opened new possibilities for the treatment of patients with cancer. In this study, immunodominant peptides from the gp100 melanoma-associated antigen were identified, and a synthetic peptide, designed to increase binding to HLA-A2 molecules, was used as a cancer vaccine to treat patients with metastatic melanoma. On the basis of immunologic assays, 91% of patients could be successfully immunized with this synthetic peptide, and 13 of 31 patients (42%) receiving the peptide vaccine plus IL-2 had objective cancer responses, and four additional patients had mixed or minor responses. Synthetic peptide vaccines based on the genes encoding cancer antigens hold promise for the development of novel cancer immunotherapies.
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