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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021214. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Detection of intra-tumor self antigen recognition during melanoma tumor progression in mice using advanced multimode confocal/two photon microscope.

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Swim Across America Laboratory, Immunology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, New York, United States of America.


Determining how tumor immunity is regulated requires understanding the extent to which the anti-tumor immune response "functions" in vivo without therapeutic intervention. To better understand this question, we developed advanced multimodal reflectance confocal/two photon fluorescence intra-vital imaging techniques to use in combination with traditional ex vivo analysis of tumor specific T cells. By transferring small numbers of melanoma-specific CD8+ T cells (Pmel-1), in an attempt to mimic physiologic conditions, we found that B16 tumor growth alone was sufficient to induce naive Pmel-1 T cell proliferation and acquisition of effector phenotype. Tumor -primed Pmel-1 T cells, are capable of killing target cells in the periphery and secrete IFNγ, but are unable to mediate tumor regression. Within the tumor, Pmel-1 T cells have highly confined mobility, displaying long term interactions with tumor cells. In contrast, adoptively transferred non tumor-specific OT-I T cells show neither confined mobility, nor long term interaction with B16 tumor cells, suggesting that intra-tumor recognition of cognate self antigen by Pmel-1 T cells occurs during tumor growth. Together, these data indicate that lack of anti-tumor efficacy is not solely due to ignorance of self antigen in the tumor microenvironment but rather to active immunosuppressive influences preventing a protective immune response.

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