Elisa Scarselli

Photo of Elisa ScarselliElisa Scarselli (MD), is currently CSO of Nouscom, a biotech dedicated to the development of novel vaccination strategies for cancer immunotherapy. She has a long-standing experience in immunology and molecular biology and she has been working for more than ten years in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Elisa, in her previous role of clinical director at Okairos, strengthened her expertise in clinical development of viral vectored vaccines to obtain regulatory approval in different countries of several Phase I and II trials. She will be speaking about ‘Development of viral delivery systems for cancer vaccines’ during Friday’s Chemoprevention and Immunotherapy session.

Development of viral delivery systems for cancer vaccines

Recently, it became clear that neo-antigens generated by tumours’ mutations are the major contributors to effective cancer immunotherapies. DNA mismatch repair deficiency induces insertion/deletion in intrinsically unstable repeated sequences with consequent shifts in translational reading frame of coding regions (frameshift peptides, FSPs). The FSPs offer a unique opportunity for a preventive cancer vaccine based on neoantigens because they are predictable, shared among many patients and potent immunogens.

The vaccination approach based on heterologous prime/boost with two different viral vectors, namely a Simian Adenovirus and a Poxvirus (Modified Vaccinia Ankara; MVA), is validated as prophylactic vaccination by several Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials. More than 5000 subjects have been injected with these vectors encoding a variety of antigens derived from a range of pathogens, including HCV, HIV, Ebola and Malaria. This approach perfectly addresses the needs of a prophylactic vaccination to prevent cancer because of its extremely good safety record in humans and the capacity to induce a broad, potent and long lasting T cell immune response against a large number of different epitopes. We aim at developing a preventive vaccine for Lynch patients inducing a multivalent T cell response, such that tumour escape is almost impossible, by encoding several FPS in one artificial gene expressed by the viral delivery systems.