Skip to Main Content
Peptide-based vaccines, in which small peptides derived from target proteins (epitopes) are used to provoke an immune reaction, have attracted considerable attention recently as a potential means both of treating infectious diseases and promoting the destruction of cancerous cells by a patient's own immune system. With the availability of large sequence databases and computers fast enough for rapid processing of large numbers of peptides, computer aided design of peptide-based vaccines has emerged as a promising approach to screening among billions of possible immune-active peptides to find those likely to provoke an immune response to a particular cell type. In this paper, we describe the development of three novel classes of methods for the prediction of class I epitopes. Each one of the three classes of methods gives a specific set of insights into the epitope prediction problem. We present a quadratic programming approach that can be trained on quantitative as well as qualitative data. The second method uses linear programming to counteract the fact that our training data contains mostly positive examples. The third class of methods uses sequence profiles obtained by clustering known epitopes to score candidate peptides. By integrating these methods, using a simple voting heuristic, we achieve improved accuracy over the state of the art.