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Curr Opin Immunol. 2005 Apr;17(2):202-10.

Immunotherapy of cancer through targeting of minor histocompatibility antigens.

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Department of Immunohaematology and Bloodtransfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, Post Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Minor histocompatibility antigens are allogeneic targets of T-cell mediated graft-versus-tumour effects following allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Recent research has identified several minor histocompatibility antigens as tumour proteins and has also disclosed their unique properties in both the induction and the effector phase of graft-versus-tumour effects. Targeting tumour-specific minor histocompatibility antigens by adoptive immunotherapy will battle against tumour tolerance and evoke allo-immune responses, thereby enhancing graft-versus-tumour effects against leukaemia and solid tumours. Recently acquired knowledge of the role of donor immunisation status, new techniques in the generation of minor histocompatibility antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in vitro, and innovative principles in vaccination will help to design clinical trials that exploit minor histocompatibility antigens in the immunotherapy of cancer.

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