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Drugs. 2009;69(3):241-9. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200969030-00001.

Tumour vaccine approaches for CNS malignancies: progress to date.

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Brain Tumor Research Laboratory, Department of Neurological Surgery, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.


Despite the many overall advances in understanding cancer biology and therapeutic development in the last 50 years, most CNS malignancies are still clinically difficult, incurable diseases. Current combinations of aggressive surgical resection, radiation therapy and chemotherapy regimens do not significantly improve long-term patient survival for these cancers. Cancer immunotherapy is a potentially promising new therapeutic strategy that primes a patient's immune system to attack neoplastic cells. We review the preclinical and clinical progress in developing vaccination-based therapy for CNS malignancies to date, including peptide-based vaccinations, dendritic cell-based vaccinations and other potential modalities. Some of the challenges for developing an effective vaccination strategy, such as abnormal immune molecules on glioma cells and abnormal lymphocyte populations within a glioma, are also discussed.

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