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Lead Wistar Inventors
Dorothee Herlyn Ph.D., Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, D. Sc. and Rajasekharan Somasundaram Ph.D.

Unmet Need

Melanoma is a very serious and increasingly prevalent form of skin cancer, having more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. The discovery that approximately 50% of melanomas harbor activating mutations in BRAF has led to therapies targeting BRAF (receptor tyrosine kinase) and the downstream MAP kinase signaling pathway. Although these drugs cause tumor regression initially, virtually all patients relapse within six months. Current combination therapies designed with the goal of treating this resistance have been unsuccessful. Clearly, alternative strategies targeting mutant BRAF and can be used in combination with emerging therapeutic approaches are needed for the successful treatment of melanoma.


Our researchers have designed novel peptides that mimic the BRAF mutation (V600E; [1]). These mutant BRAF peptides stimulate T cell proliferation and induce cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) in melanoma patient positive for HLA-2 (which is expressed in ~50% of melanoma patients). This vaccine induces both HLA-Class I and-Class II-restricted lymphocytes responses and is therefore useful for immunotherapy of melanoma.

Stage of Development

Wistar scientists have demonstrated the potential of this vaccine to be used in combination with emerging immuno-oncologic therapies (unpublished results).

Intellectual Property

Issued and pending patents covering compositions and methods of use. US7,811,993; including a recently filed provisional application covering combination therapy.

Collaboration Opportunity

This technology has been licensed. Please contact us if you would like us to introduce you to our licensing partners for further discussion.


  1. Somasundaram et al. (2006) Cancer Research 66(6):3287-3293. PMID 16540682.