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Trends Immunol. 2008 May;29(5):242-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Exploiting dendritic cells and natural killer T cells in immunotherapy against malignancies.

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Research Unit for Cellular Immunotherapy, Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Yokohama RIKEN, 1-7-22, Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 230-0045 Japan.


A primary focus of tumor immunotherapy research is to change the immune system so that it becomes immunized and not tolerized to the presentation of antigens by or from tumor cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are the logical target for the development of immunotherapies because DCs instruct the ensuing immune response. Upon activation, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells have direct antitumor effects and also induce in situ DC maturation, linking the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system in an immunogenic form. The characterization and manipulation of DC function in tumor-bearing hosts will provide new insights into mechanisms of tumor immunology and lead to the development of successful clinical strategies.

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