Courtney L. Erskine

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Adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin) treatment of breast cancer patients significantly improves their clinical outcome. Vaccination is an attractive alternative approach to provide HER-2/neu (Her2)-specific antibodies and may in addition concomitantly stimulate Her2-reactive T-cells. Here we report the first administration of a Her2-plasmid DNA (pDNA) vaccine(More)
Within the ovarian cancer microenvironment, there are several mechanisms that suppress the actions of antitumor immune effectors. Delineating the complex immune microenvironment is an important goal toward developing effective immune-based therapies. A dominant pathway of immune suppression in ovarian cancer involves tumor-associated and dendritic cell(More)
Studies have shown that the immune system can recognize self-antigens under conditions (eg, cell injury) in which the self-tissue might elaborate immune-activating endogenous danger signals. Uric acid (UA) is an endogenous danger signal recently identified to be released from dying cells. Prior work has shown that UA activates immune effectors of both the(More)
PURPOSE Studies have demonstrated that the generation of immunity to tumor antigens is associated with improved prognosis for many cancers. A candidate antigen is the folate receptor alpha (FRalpha), which is overexpressed in breast and ovarian cancers. Our goal in this study was to attain a better understanding of the extent of endogenous FRalpha immunity.(More)
The transcription factor PAX3 is expressed during early embryogenesis and in multiple cancer types, including embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS), Ewing sarcoma (ES) and malignant melanoma (MEL), suggesting that it could function as a general tumor associated antigen. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) peptide binding algorithms were used to predict(More)
The addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy extends survival among patients with HER2(+) breast cancer. Prior work showed that trastuzumab and chemotherapy augments HER2 extracellular domain (ECD)-specific antibodies. The current study investigated whether combination therapy induced immune responses beyond HER2-ECD and, importantly, whether those immune(More)
Recent studies have shown the importance of helper CD4 T cells in initiating and sustaining tumor-specific CD8 T-cell immunity. This has paved the way for identifying MHC class II epitopes that could be incorporated into class I-based vaccines. In this study, the goal was to identify an HLA-DR-degenerate epitope pool derived from insulin-like growth factor(More)
Cytotoxic CD8 T cells constitute a subgroup of T cells that are capable of inducing the death of infected or malignant host cells. These cells express a specialized receptor, called the T cell receptor (TCR), which can recognize a specific antigenic peptide bound to HLA class I molecules. Engagement of infected cells or tumor cells through their HLA class I(More)
PURPOSE Over the past two decades, there has been significant interest in targeting HER-2/neu in immune-based approaches for the treatment of HER-2/neu+ cancers. For example, peptide vaccination using a CD8 T cell-activating HER-2/neu epitope (amino acids 369-377) is an approach that is being considered in advanced phase clinical trials. Studies have(More)
Patients with HER-2/neu-expressing breast cancer remain at risk for relapse following standard therapy. Vaccines targeting HER-2/neu to prevent relapse are in various phases of clinical testing. Many vaccines incorporate the HER-2/neu HLA-A2-binding peptide p369-377 (KIFGSLAFL), because it has been shown that CTLs specific for this epitope can directly kill(More)