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Cell Commun Signal. 2017 Jan 5;15(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12964-016-0160-z.

T cell exhaustion: from pathophysiological basics to tumor immunotherapy.

Author information

1
Laboratory for Immunological and Molecular Cancer Research, Department of Internal Medicine III with Haematology, Medical Oncology, Haemostaseology, Infectiology and Rheumatology, Oncologic Center, Paracelsus Medical University, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, Salzburg, 5020, Austria.
2
Salzburg Cancer Research Institute, Salzburg, Austria.
3
Department of Pathology, Paracelsus Medical University, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, Salzburg, 5020, Austria.
4
Laboratory for Immunological and Molecular Cancer Research, Department of Internal Medicine III with Haematology, Medical Oncology, Haemostaseology, Infectiology and Rheumatology, Oncologic Center, Paracelsus Medical University, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, Salzburg, 5020, Austria. r.geisberger@salk.at.
5
Salzburg Cancer Research Institute, Salzburg, Austria. r.geisberger@salk.at.

Abstract

The immune system is capable of distinguishing between danger- and non-danger signals, thus inducing either an appropriate immune response against pathogens and cancer or inducing self-tolerance to avoid autoimmunity and immunopathology. One of the mechanisms that have evolved to prevent destruction by the immune system, is to functionally silence effector T cells, termed T cell exhaustion, which is also exploited by viruses and cancers for immune escape In this review, we discuss some of the phenotypic markers associated with T cell exhaustion and we summarize current strategies to reinvigorate exhausted T cells by blocking these surface marker using monoclonal antibodies.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Immunotherapy; PD-1; PD-L1; T cell exhaustion

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