Neoantigen-based cancer vaccines have emerged as a promising immunotherapeutic approach to treat cancer. Nevertheless, the high degree of heterogeneity in tumors poses a significant hurdle for developing a vaccine that targets the therapeutically relevant neoantigens capable of effectively stimulating an immune response as each tumor contains numerous unique putative neoantigens. Understanding the complexities of tumor heterogeneity is crucial for the development of personalized neoantigen-based vaccines, which hold the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment and improve patient outcomes. In this review, we discuss recent advancements in the design of neoantigen-based cancer vaccines emphasizing the identification, validation, formulation, and targeting of neoantigens while addressing the challenges posed by tumor heterogeneity. The review highlights the application of cutting-edge approaches, such as single-cell sequencing and artificial intelligence to identify immunogenic neoantigens, while outlining current limitations and proposing future research directions to develop effective neoantigen-based vaccines.

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