Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In


First Advisor

Salem, Aliasger K.

First Committee Member

Stevens, Lewis L.

Second Committee Member

Brogden, Nicole K.


Vaccines have become an important approach for the treatment of cancer. Cancer vaccines help the immune system to detect and eradicate tumor cells. Also, cancer vaccines are designed to stimulate an effective immune response that can create long-term immune memory to prevent tumor recurrence. This treatment approach involves the administration of a vaccine comprising or encoding an antigen and can often be combined with an adjuvant to further promote the immune response.

The goal of this research was to study the effect of the polyanhydride composition of prophylactic cancer vaccine formulations on the tumor-specific immune response. To achieve this goal, three different amphiphilic polyanhydride copolymers were generated comprising different ratios of 1,6-bis-(p-carboxyphenoxy)-hexane (CPH) and 1,8-bis-(p-carboxyphenoxy)-3,6-dioxaoctane (CPTEG) or sebacic anhydride (SA) monomers. These copolymers were used to fabricate particles encapsulating a model antigen, ovalbumin (OVA), using a double emulsion solvent evaporation technique. The ability of the three different compositions of amphiphilic polyanhydride copolymers (50:50 CPTEG:CPH, 20:80 CPTEG:CPH, and 20:80 CPH:SA) encapsulating OVA to elicit immune responses was investigated. Further, the impact of soluble unmethylated oligodeoxynucleotides containing deoxycytidyl-deoxyguanosine dinucleotides (CpG ODN), an immunologic adjuvant, on the immune response to the three formulations was also studied. The immune response to cancer vaccines was measured after treatment of C57BL/6J mice with two subcutaneous injections, seven days apart, of 50 μg OVA encapsulated in particles composed of different polyanhydride copolymers with or without 25 μg CpG ODN.

In vivo studies showed that 20:80 CPTEG:CPH particles encapsulating OVA significantly stimulated the highest level of CD8+ T lymphocytes, generated the highest serum titers of OVA-specific IgG antibodies, and produced longer survival in comparison to formulations involving the other polyanhydride copolymers. The results also revealed that supplementing the vaccine formulations with CpG ODN did not enhance the immunogenicity of OVA. These results accentuate the crucial role of the copolymer composition of polyanhydrides in stimulating the immune response and improving cancer vaccine efficacy.


Antitumor immune response, Biodegradable polymer, Cancer vaccine, CpG ODN, Ovalbumin, Polyanhydrides


xiv, 58 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 54-58).


Copyright 2016 Emad Ibrahim Wafa