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About the Center for Personal Cancer Vaccines (CPCV)

  • Welcome to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Center for Personal Cancer Vaccines (CPCV). Our interdisciplinary team of physicians, scientists, and staff is dedicated to the development of therapeutic vaccines tailored specifically to each patient's individual cancer through clinical trials and correlative research.

    In recent years, members of our Center, directed by Patrick Ott, MD, PhD, have conducted collaborative, investigator-initiated studies in patients with solid tumors that have demonstrated proof of concept data supporting the potential of personalized cancer vaccines (Ott and Hu Nature 2017; Keskin and Anandappa Nature 2019).

    A key feature of our Center is strong clinical trial design, along with expertise in fundamental cancer immunology and developing cutting edge technologies (see our Dana-Farber/Harvard Medical School collaborators at the Translational Immunogenomics Lab (TIGL)). Our interdisciplinary team is well positioned to remain at the forefront of personalized cancer immunotherapy.

    Personal Cancer Vaccines

    No two cancers are the same. At the Center for Personal Cancer Vaccines, we develop patient-tailored vaccines that empower the immune system of each cancer patient to specifically recognize and target their tumor.

    NeoVax

    All cancer cells harbor genetic mutations, most of which are unique to each patient. A subset of these somatic mutations encodes molecular changes called neoantigens that the immune system can recognize and target. Our team can identify these neoantigens by next-gen sequencing and machine learning algorithms, which has led to the development of our personal cancer vaccine — "NeoVax" — that induces a focused T cell response specifically against multiple tumor neoantigens, beyond what is normally seen with immunotherapies. NeoVax contains up to 20 neoantigens, with each set derived from an individual patient's tumor and administered to the corresponding patient, with the goal of stimulating the immune system to specifically attack their cancer, thereby creating truly personalized cancer immunotherapies.


  • illustration of vaccines steering immune response

  • Cancer vaccines are uniquely capable of enhancing the number and quality of tumor-specific T cells and steering them to the tumor, potentially leading to the destruction of tumor cells. It is anticipated that when combined with other immunotherapeutic modalities, vaccines can not only heighten the immune response, but also keep it targeted, thus reducing toxicities associated with checkpoint blockade therapies such as PD-1 and CTLA-4.