ImMucin: A novel therapeutic vaccine with promiscuous MHC binding for the treatment of MUC1-expressing tumors

Riva Kovjazin, Ilan Volovitz, Yulia Kundel, Eli Rosenbaum, Gal Medalia, Galit Horn, Nechama I. Smorodinsky, Baruch Brenner, Lior Carmona*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


An optimal cancer vaccine should be able to induce highly potent, long-lasting, tumor-specific responses in the majority of the cancer patient population. One approach for achieving this is to use synthetic peptide vaccines derived from widely expressed tumor-associated antigens, that promiscuously bind multiple MHC class I and class II alleles. MUC1-SP-L (ImMucin, VXL100) is a 21mer peptide encoding the complete signal peptide domain of MUC1, a tumor-associated antigen expressed by over 90% of solid and non-solid tumors. MUC1-SP-L was predicted in silico to bind various MHC class I and MHC class II alleles, covering the majority of the Caucasian population. PBLs obtained from 13 naïve donors all proliferated, with a Stimulation Index (SI = 2), to the MUC1-SP-L peptide, producing mixed CD4+ and CD8+ responses. Similar results were manifested by MUC1-SP-L in PBLs derived from 9 of 10 cancer patients with MUC1 positive tumors. CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations exhibited CD45RO memory markers and secreted IFN-gamma and IL-2 following stimulation with MUC1-SP-L. These T cells also exhibited proliferation to the MUC1-SP-L inner 9mer epitopes and cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines expressing MUC1 and a concordant MHC class I allele. Cytotoxicity to MUC1-expressing human and murine tumors was shown also in T cells obtained from HLA-A2 transgenic mice and BALB/c syngeneic mice immunized with the MUC1-SP-L and GM-CSF. In an immunotherapy model, BALB/c mice inoculated with metastatic MUC1 transfected murine DA3 mammary tumor cells, exhibited significantly prolonged survival following vaccination with MUC1-SP-L. Our results indicate superior immunological and anti-tumor properties of MUC1-SP-L compared to previously published MUC1-derived epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4676-4686
Number of pages11
Issue number29-30
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2011


  • Cancer vaccine
  • MHC class I
  • MHC class II
  • MUC1
  • Signal peptide


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