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J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:425476. doi: 10.1155/2012/425476. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Dendritic cells the tumor microenvironment and the challenges for an effective antitumor vaccination.

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Biomedical Engineering Program, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701-2979, USA.


Many clinical trials have been carried out or are in progress to assess the therapeutic potential of dendritic-cell- (DC-) based vaccines on cancer patients, and recently the first DC-based vaccine for human cancer was approved by the FDA. Herewith, we describe the general characteristics of DCs and different strategies to generate effective antitumor DC vaccines. In recent years, the relevance of the tumor microenvironment in the progression of cancer has been highlighted. It has been shown that the tumor microenvironment is capable of inactivating various components of the immune system responsible for tumor clearance. In particular, the effect of the tumor microenvironment on antigen-presenting cells, such as DCs, does not only render these immune cells unable to induce specific immune responses, but also turns them into promoters of tumor growth. We also describe strategies likely to increase the efficacy of DC vaccines by reprogramming the immunosuppressive nature of the tumor microenvironment.

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