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Curr Opin Immunol. 2002 Apr;14(2):172-7.

Prophylactic cancer vaccines.

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Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, W1142 Biomedical Science Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Increasingly, data from distinct experimental systems show that immunity can be activated to prevent tumors. The rationale for prevention is strong because, in that setting, one deals with an immune system that is neither impaired by tumor- and treatment-induced suppression nor tolerant to tumor-associated antigens that have been encountered in the absence of correct presentation and costimulatory/danger signals. The use of overexpressed or mutated proteins, or mutated oncogenic growth factor receptors, as tumor-associated antigens yields rational targets for specific immunoprevention. Transgenic mouse models are providing encouraging indications of future usefulness of vaccines that are based on these molecules.

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