Description: This book describes cancer vaccine protocols targeting cancers that have already developed, stimulating the immune system against the tumor to stop cancer cell growth and reduce tumor burden.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide moderately advanced researchers with a protocol-driven resource for the use of cancer vaccines, primarily in humans. The book is divided into six major sections: Manipulation and Modification of Dendritic Cells; Manipulation and Modification of Immune Cells; Manipulation and Modification of Tumor Cells; Manipulation of Immune/Tumor Interactions; Delivery Mechanisms; and Advances, Challenges and Future of Cancer Vaccines. These topics are central to aspects of cancer vaccine research, and the authors, in general, cover them well.
Audience: The audience includes established researchers, professors, and healthcare professionals who have a basic understanding of general and tumor immunology.
Features: This book provides protocols for the development of cancer vaccines targeting primarily human "endogenous tumors" such as HER2/neu breast cancer, acute myelogenous leukemia, lymphoma, and melanoma, and updates understanding of the field. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction that summarizes the goal of the chapter and includes a materials section listing necessary reagents, a methods section, and a notes section with potential protocol problems and solutions. Sections are provided in outline form for easy access to information. Illustrations are well thought out, logical, adequate in number, and several are in color. The section on dendritic cells is particularly well developed. References are to 2012 and are limited to 10-30 per chapter, focusing on the technique described. The index is brief, and needs updating relative to the types of tumors that are targeted, e.g. breast cancer, melanoma, etc.
Assessment: This is a well-written, well-structured book that covers a rapidly developing and highly important field of vaccine cancer research. What changes would I suggest for the next edition? I would consider adding two updated introductory chapters reviewing the human immune system and tumor immunology before segueing into the individual vaccine chapters. This would increase the audience for the book and would serve as important background material, so readers don't have to go elsewhere to retrieve it. Although the primary focus is the development of human anticancer vaccines, murine models are also discussed and it would be useful to place these in a separate section specifically describing nonhuman models. I would broaden the index, specifically listing potential tumors to be targeted. Although three viral vectors are discussed (adenovirus, murine retroviruses, and avipoxvirus), lentivirus, vaccinia, and adeno-associated (AAV) viral vectors are not. Notably, at this time, lentiviral and AAV vectors are the most extensively used vectors in human clinical trials, and it would be of interest to include a discussion of them, although the role of AAV vectors as immune stimulants is controversial at best. One of the most important developments in cancer immunotherapy currently in human trials is the development of genetically modified CAR T-cells, which are discussed in the context of mouse models, but there is little discussion of human studies. Finally, although the authors may have chosen to focus on vaccines targeting "endogenous" tumors, what is endogenous vs. exogenous is certainly a gray area, as cancers are believed to result from a "multi-hit" mechanism, and a variety of factors, including viruses, are known to be oncogenic. The classic example is human papillomavirus (HPV), a major cofactor in the generation of oral and anogenital cancers in humans and already a target for successful vaccine development. However, these issues do not detract from the importance of the book, which is essential for those interested in the use of cancer vaccine protocols.