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J Clin Invest. 2005 Dec;115(12):3397-400.

Expanding the immunotherapeutic potential of minor histocompatibility antigens.

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Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Minor histocompatibility antigens (mHAgs) selectively expressed by cells or cell subsets of the hematopoietic system are targets of the T cell-mediated graft-versus-leukemia response that develops following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for the treatment of hematological malignancies. This observation has served as the rationale for utilizing mHAg-specific immunotherapy for the treatment of particular patients. However, at present, only a select and small number of patients could potentially benefit from mHAg-based immunotherapy. A report from de Rijke et al. in this issue of the JCI describes a new hematopoietic lineage-specific HLA-B7-restricted mHAg associated with remission of chronic myeloid leukemia. This result represents another example of an mHAg-mediated graft-versus-leukemia response, thereby expanding the number of patients eligible for mHAg-based immunotherapy in the setting of HSCT.

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