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Clin Dev Immunol. 2008;2008:106321. doi: 10.1155/2008/106321. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

Physiological role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and their potential use in cancer immunity.

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Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Arizona, 13400 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role in the control of innate and adaptive immune responses. They are a heterogeneous cell population, where plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are a unique subset capable of secreting high levels of type I IFNs. It has been demonstrated that pDCs can coordinate events during the course of viral infection, atopy, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Therefore, pDC, as a main source of type I IFN, is an attractive target for therapeutic manipulations of the immune system to elicit a powerful immune response against tumor antigens in combination with other therapies. The therapeutic vaccination with antigen-pulsed DCs has shown a limited efficacy to generate an effective long-lasting immune response against tumor cells. A rational manipulation and design of vaccines which could include DC subsets outside "Langerhans cell paradigm" might allow us to improve the therapeutic approaches for cancer patients.

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