Ganglioside Vaccines

Among various tumor associated cell surface antigens, gangliosides, the glycosphingolipids that contain sialic acids, offer a variety of epitopes, some of which are preferentially expressed on tumor cells. These surface components of the bilayered lipid membrane of tumor cells are the targets of active immunotherapy with cancer vaccine. Creative Biolabs is a world leader in the field of cancer vaccine development. With our extensive experience and advanced platform, we are therefore confident in offering the best development services for ganglioside-based cancer vaccines. We guarantee the finest results for our customers all over the world.

Ganglioside Antigens

Structures of Ganglioside Antigens

Since Irie and Morton observed that patients’ IgM antibodies reactive against melanoma membrane antigens also reacted against ganglioside-rich neural tissues of fetal brain, there has been a growing interest in gangliosides as potential targets for ASI of cancer.

A ganglioside is a molecule composed of one or more sialic acids with a glycosphingolipid (ceramide and oligosaccharide), which are expressed at the cell surface with their lipid (ceramide) moiety incorporated into the cell surface lipid bilayer. The name ganglioside was first applied by the German scientist Ernst Klenk in 1942 to lipids newly isolated from ganglion cells of the brain. Most gangliosides considered as potential targets for cancer therapy are expressed primarily in tissues and tumors of neuroectodermal origin. This is true for the melanoma, sarcoma and neuroblastoma antigens GM2, GD2 and GD3, and the small cell lung cancer antigen, fucosyl GM1. Surprisingly, however, GM2 has also recently been identified in a number of epithelial cancers and at the luminal surfaces of a variety of normal epithelial tissues.

Ganglioside-Based Cancer Vaccines

Gangliosides, a broad family of structurally related glycolipids, were firstly suggested as potential targets for cancer immunotherapy based on their higher abundance in tumors when compared with the matched normal tissues. Gangliosides per se are not immunogenic and require extrinsic adjuvanticity.

To date, ganglioside-based cancer vaccines have generally been restricted to melanoma and are still an area of active research. Preparation of a melanoma cell vaccine for active immunotherapy requires an understanding of the ganglioside profile of melanoma, the ganglioside-associated heterogeneity of melanoma, and the role of shed melanoma gangliosides in the immunosuppression of cell mediated and humoral immunity. In addition, the role of some of the anti-ganglioside antibodies in the elimination of shed gangliosides, the cytotoxic killing of tumor cells, as well as in the down-regulation of lymphocyte functions must be considered in the formulation of vaccine.

NGc gangliosides in human tumor biology

Fig.2 NGc gangliosides in human tumor biology.

N-glycolyl (NGc) gangliosides, and particularly NGcGM3, have received attention as a privileged target for cancer therapy. The use of GM3 gangliosides-based vaccines and anti-idiotypic antibodies have been extended to other important pathologies such as breast, lung, colon and renal cancers and certain hematological malignancies also. GM3 is one of the most ubiquitous gangliosides and poorly immunogenic when administered as the unmodified nominal antigens. Therefore, even if tolerance to GM3 is difficult to break, when immunization is achieved, the antitumor response may be stronger.

Creative Biolabs is a leader in the field of vaccine development and has focused on the cancer vaccines for years. We have experienced experts and advanced platforms that are able to provide excellent services. If you are interested in our services, please contact us for more details.


  1. Fernandez, LE. (2010). “NGcGM3 Ganglioside: A Privileged Target for Cancer Vaccines.” Clin Dev Immunol 814397.

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