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Clin Dev Immunol. 2010;2010:169484. doi: 10.1155/2010/169484. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

DNA vaccination: using the patient's immune system to overcome cancer.

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Experimental Oncology Group, Department of Pediatrics, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


Cancer is one of the most challenging diseases of today. Optimization of standard treatment protocols consisting of the main columns of chemo- and radiotherapy followed or preceded by surgical intervention is often limited by toxic side effects and induction of concomitant malignancies and/or development of resistant mechanisms. This requires the development of therapeutic strategies which are as effective as standard therapies but permit the patients a life without severe negative side effects. Along this line, the development of immunotherapy in general and the innovative concept of DNA vaccination in particular may provide a venue to achieve this goal. Using the patient's own immune system by activation of humoral and cellular immune responses to target the cancer cells has shown first promising results in clinical trials and may allow reduced toxicity standard therapy regimen in the future. The main challenge of this concept is to transfer the plethora of convincing preclinical and early clinical results to an effective treatment of patients.

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