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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013 Oct;12(10):1211-7. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2013.836911. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

HLA ligandome tumor antigen discovery for personalized vaccine approach.

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Department of Immunology, Institute of Cell Biology, and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Partner Site Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Every cancer is different and cancer cells differ from normal cells, in particular, through genetic alterations. HLA molecules on the cell surface enable T lymphocytes to recognize cellular alterations as antigens, including mutations, increase in gene product copy numbers or expression of genes usually not used in the adult organism. The search for cancer-associated antigens shared by many patients with a particular cancer has yielded a number of hits used in clinical vaccination trials with indication of survival benefit. Targeting cancer-specific antigens, which are exclusively expressed on cancer cells and not on normal cells, holds the promise for much better results and perhaps even a cure. Such antigens, however, may specifically appear in very few patients or may be mutated appearing just in one patient. Therefore, to target these in a molecularly defined way, the approach has to be individualized.

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