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Nat Med. 1995 Jul;1(7):649-53.

Targeting antigen into the phagocytic pathway in vivo induces protective tumour immunity.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) kill neoplastic or virally infected cells after recognizing on their surface antigenic peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. These peptides are derived from antigens that are degraded in the cytosol of the affected cell. Because exogenous proteins cannot enter the cytosol, immunizations with killed pathogens or their proteins do not generally elicit CTLs. However, antigens that are internalized into phagocytic cells can enter the cytosol and be processed for class I presentation. Here we show that immunization with a purified antigen on an avidly phagocytized particle primes CTLs, which in turn protect animals from subsequent challenge with tumours transfected with the antigen gene. Interestingly, these animals also become immune to other antigens expressed by the tumour. This approach could be exploited to develop tumour and viral vaccines.

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