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Cancer Vaccine to Treat Melanoma and Osteosarcoma

Stimulates the Immune System to Respond to a Major Surface Antigen on Cancerous Cells

This cancer vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies against a cell surface antigen common to both melanoma and osteosarcoma tumors and works in conjunction with chemotherapy. Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that’s highly metastatic at later stages. Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer and also is highly metastatic. Beyond chemotherapy, which is only moderately effective and has numerous side effects, physicians may employ immunotherapies such as adoptive T-cell therapies to treat these and other cancers. Because T-cell therapies involve delivering live whole cells, administration must wait until after chemotherapy. Since cancers are typically able to evade destruction by the immune system, cancer vaccines aim to encourage the immune system to attack cancer cells by eliciting an immune response against tumor-specific antigens. However, developing effective cancer vaccines has proven challenging due to the difficulty of eliciting a robust and consistent immune response against "self" antigens. The global market for cancer vaccines is estimated to have over a 12% growth rate, reaching almost $12 billion by 2026. 


Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a vaccine for melanoma and osteosarcoma cancers based on the tumor-specific antigen disialoganglioside (GD3). The nano-liposome composition of the vaccine enhances its stability and stimulates a robust response by both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, even during the administration of chemotherapy.




Cancer vaccine that targets GD3 antigen to treat melanoma and osteosarcoma



  • Stimulates the immune system while chemotherapy is administered, overcoming host immune tolerance to the naturally occurring GD3 antigen
  • Targets a ubiquitous tumor antigen, supporting off-the shelf immunotherapy applicable to many cancer patients
  • Delivers antigen via a lipid-based nano-sized liposome, that is both stable and generates a consistent and robust immune response


This nanolipo-GD3 vaccine enhances the production of antibodies that target tumor cells expressing the disialoganglioside (GD3) antigen. Both melanoma and osteosarcoma tumor cells express the antigen, thus potentially resulting in a single vaccine that effectively targets both of these common and hard to treat cancers. This cancer vaccine is an “off the shelf” immunotherapy, that is effective without requiring customization for each patient. The vaccine is able to stimulate an immune response even during a chemotherapy treatment regimen. UF’s scientists have demonstrated in dogs with melanoma that the vaccine improved survival by two- to three-fold with a course of four intradermal injections of the vaccine. Humans and dogs with melanoma have shared histopathologic and genetic features, especially in the oral mucosal forms, making dogs an ideal large animal translational model for this study. In the case of osteosarcoma, when the vaccine is given with standard of care the median survival is 552 days compared to 292-310 days for standard of care alone.

Patent Information: