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Immunol Rev. 2002 Oct;188:164-76.

Towards patient-specific tumor antigen selection for vaccination.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Institute for Cell Biology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


In this review, we discuss the possibilities for combining the power of molecular analysis of the antigens expressed in a given individual tumor with the design of a tailored vaccine containing defined antigens. Step 1 is a differential gene expression analysis of tumor and corresponding normal tissue. Step 2 is the analysis of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) ligands on tumor cells. Step 3 is data mining with the aim to select those antigens that might be suitable for tumor attack by the adaptive immune system. Step 4 is the on-the-spot clinical grade production of the constituents of the patient tailored vaccine, e.g. peptides. Step 5 is then vaccination and monitoring. Although it will not be possible to cover all relevant antigens expressed in a tumor, the antigens that can be identified with our present technical possibilities might be enough for improved immunotherapy. The scope of the present review is to explore the possibilities and the formidable technical and logistical challenge for such individual patient-oriented antigen definition to be used for therapeutic immunization.

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