GAZETTE: So we’re adept already at doing the kinds of things that are going to be needed to make vaccines, but we have to figure out what the best targets are?

OTT: Exactly.

GAZETTE: Are there particular tumors for which this might be a particularly important approach one day?

OTT: The reason we first studied melanoma, lung, and bladder cancer is that it certainly helps to have a tumor that has a higher mutation rate with this approach. And it’s good if a certain tumor type has already shown that it can respond to immunotherapy.

But I am convinced that this approach can, in principle, work for any cancer, including cancers that have lower mutation rates, and it therefore may ultimately be a therapy option for almost any cancer patient. It is certainly more complicated to generate an individual therapeutic vaccine for each patient as opposed to an off-the-shelf therapy.

But by tailoring the therapy to a patient’s tumor rather than selecting patients based on specific tumor characteristics, which is often the case for targeted therapies or off-the-shelf vaccines, we will be able to offer the therapy to more patients.