HERVs as a source
of tumor antigens
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) represent a significant part of the human genome. HERVs are kept silent by epigenetic regulation but can be reactivated by malignant transformation or epigenetic therapies.
HERVs represent a reservoir of targetable antigens, especially in tumors with a low or moderate mutational burden.
Because HERV-derived antigens are seen as foreign, « virus-like » antigens, by the immune system, they represent relevant targets for the development of new cancer vaccines or T cell based therapies.