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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Aug;31(8):356-63. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Fighting cancers from within: augmenting tumor immunity with cytokine therapy.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


The human immune system has successfully evolved to fight many pathogens. Through vaccination, we can harness and improve immune responses to eradicate infections. Despite this success, we are only now beginning to understand the natural tumor immune surveillance mechanisms and why, in some instances, our immune system fails to abrogate the development and growth of tumors. Encouraging results with the latest immunotherapies have renewed enthusiasm in the field. A central component of these therapies is the contribution of cytokines. Here we review our expanding knowledge of cytokine-induced effects as well as preclinical and clinical data that indicate adjuvant cytokine therapies may hold much promise in improving anti-tumor immunity. Further studies on optimal synergistic combinations, timing, duration and additional adjuvant therapies are required to realize the full potential of cytokines as immunotherapeutic agents.

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