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Curr Opin Immunol. 2008 Apr;20(2):211-20. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2008.04.009. Epub 2008 May 24.

WT1 peptide vaccine for the treatment of cancer.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Rheumatic Diseases, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.


Wilms' tumor gene WT1 is expressed in various kinds of cancers. Human WT1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) were generated, and mice immunized with WT1 peptide rejected challenges by WT1-expressing cancer cells without auto-aggression to normal organs. Furthermore, WT1 antibodies and WT1-specific CTLs were detected in cancer patients, indicating that WT1 protein was immunogenic. These findings provided us with the rationale for cancer immunotherapy targeting WT1. Clinical trials of WT1 peptide vaccination for cancer patients were started, and WT1 vaccination-related immunological responses and clinical responses, including reduction of leukemic cells, reduction of M-protein amount in myeloma, and shrinkage of solid cancer, were observed. Valuable information about immune responses against tumor antigens can be obtained by the analysis of samples from the vaccinated patients, which should lead to further improvement of cancer vaccine.

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