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A minimal model of T cell avidity may identify subtherapeutic vaccine schedules

By Adarsh Kumbhari, Danya Rose, Peter P Lee, Peter S. Kim

Posted 07 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.06.413864

T cells protect the body from cancer by recognising tumour-associated antigens. Recognising these antigens de- pends on multiple factors, one of which is T cell avidity, i.e., the total interaction strength between a T cell and a cancer cell. While both high- and low-avidity T cells can kill cancer cells, durable anti-cancer immune responses require the selection of high-avidity T cells. Previous experimentation with anti-cancer vaccines, however, has shown that most vaccines elicit low-avidity T cells. Optimising vaccine schedules may remedy this by preferen- tially selecting high-avidity T cells. Here, we use mathematical modelling to develop a simple, phenomenological model of avidity selection that may identify vaccine schedules that disproportionately favour low-avidity T cells. We calibrate our model to our prior, more complex model, and then validate it against several experimental data sets. We find that the sensitivity of the model's parameters change with vaccine dosage, which allows us to use a patient's data and clinical history to screen for suitable vaccine strategies.

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