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Front Oncol. 2012 Nov 9;2:159. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2012.00159. eCollection 2012.

Idiotypes as immunogens: facing the challenge of inducing strong therapeutic immune responses against the variable region of immunoglobulins.

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Molecular Immunology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy ; Immunobiology Division, Center of Molecular Immunology, Havana, Cuba ; Bioengineering Research Institute, Biotech Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, Beijing, China.


Idiotype (Id)-based immunotherapy has been exploited as cancer treatment option. Conceived as therapy for malignancies bearing idiotypic antigens, it has been also extended to solid tumors because of the capacity of anti-idiotypic antibodies to mimic Id-unrelated antigens. In both these two settings, efforts are being made to overcome the poor immune responsiveness often experienced when using self immunoglobulins as immunogens. Despite bearing a unique gene combination, and thus particular epitopes, it is normally difficult to stimulate the immune response against antibody variable regions. Different strategies are currently used to strengthen Id immunogenicity, such as concomitant use of immune-stimulating molecules, design of Id-containing immunogenic recombinant proteins, specific targeting of relevant immune cells, and genetic immunization. This review focuses on the role of anti-Id vaccination in cancer management and on the current developments used to foster anti-idiotypic B and T cell responses.


cancer; idiotype; idiotypic network; lymphoma; vaccines

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