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Biol Chem. 2001 Apr;382(4):507-20.

Dendritic cells for specific cancer immunotherapy.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, University of Regensburg, Germany.


The characterization of tumor-associated antigens recognized by human T lymphocytes in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted fashion has opened new possibilities for immunotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of human cancers. Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen presenting cells that are well suited to activate T cells toward various antigens, such as tumor-associated antigens, due to their potent costimulatory activity. The availability of large numbers of DC, generated either from hematopoietic progenitor cells or monocytes in vitro or isolated from peripheral blood, has profoundly changed pre-clinical research as well as the clinical evaluation of these cells. Accordingly, appropriately pulsed or transfected DC may be used for vaccination in the field of infectious diseases or tumor immunotherapy to induce antigen-specific T cell responses. These observations led to pilot clinical trials of DC vaccination for patients with cancer in order to investigate the feasibility, safety, as well as the immunologic and clinical effects of this approach. Initial clinical studies of human DC vaccines are generating encouraging preliminary results demonstrating induction of tumor-specific immune responses and tumor regression. Nevertheless, much work is still needed to address several variables that are critical for optimizing this approach and to determine the role of DC-based vaccines in tumor immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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