Cancer Vaccines Redux: mRNA, Oncolytic Viruses, Or Good Old-Fashioned Peptides – Is It the Target(s), Immunization Platform, Clin Dev Strategy, or All of the Above?

Cancer vaccines have one of the longest histories in the field of Immunotherapy, going back to the days when this was known as Tumor Immunology. The field has driven, and benefitted from, advances around target/antigen identification, adjuvants, and immunization platforms. But what has really enabled the field over the past decade has been the approval of the checkpoint inhibitors, unlocking the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) and allowing immune cells to see and react to exogenous (and/or endogenous) antigens.  And yet, while the experimental models continue to demonstrate great preclinical proof of concept, the translation in clinical trials into patient benefit, not just immune responses, has been modest at best (with only one approved vaccine here, Provenge, approved a decade ago). Tis begs the question of why – why have the responses in animal models not been able to be recapitulated in cancer patients?  This session will discuss the various possible reasons and how the industry can best obviate these stumbling blocks, in order to finally see cancer vaccines, realize their true potential.


  • Jeffrey M. Bockman, PhD, EVP, Head of Oncology, Commercial BioConsulting, Lumanity


  • Jens Bjorheim, MD, MBA, CMO, Ultimovacs AB
  • Richard Gaynor, MD, President, Research & Development, BioNTech US
  • Igor Matushansky, PhD, MD, CMO & Global Head, R&D, Hookipa Pharma, Inc.
  • Christophe Queva, PhD, CSO, Oncorus Inc.
  • Erik Digman Wiklund, PhD, M.Sc., CEO, Targovax
  • Lauren Wood, MD, PhD, CMO, PDS Biotechnology Corporation