Review Article

Dendritic Cells : Key to Cancer Immunotherapy

Kimia Alizadeh , Kasra Alizadeh

Kimia Alizadeh
Farculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. Email:

Kasra Alizadeh
Human Biology Program, The University of Kansas
Online First: March 29, 2017 | Cite this Article
Alizadeh, K., Alizadeh, K. 2017. Dendritic Cells : Key to Cancer Immunotherapy. The Cancer Press 3(1): 6-12. DOI:10.15562/tcp.37

Immunity is controlled by a network of professional antigen presenting cells (APCs), the most important of which are known as dendritic cells (DC). Dendritic cells are professional APCs that are designed to activate T cells toward various antigens, such as tumor-associated antigens, due to their potent co-stimulatory activity. They play a crucial role of constantly sampling the microenvironment for ‘danger signals’, which include inflammatory signals and pathogens. The availability of large numbers of DC, generated either from hematopoietic progenitor cells or monocytes, holds great promise in the development of cancer immunotherapy as well as the treatment of autoimmune diseases and suppressing several viruses. Accordingly, appropriately pulsed or transfected DC may be used for vaccination in the field of infectious diseases or tumor immunotherapy to induce antigen-specific T cell responses. Unlike infectious pathogens, tumors do not induce an effective inflammatory response suitable for optimal activation of DCs, and as a result the immune response is weak and ineffective. The primary purpose of vaccinating individuals with cancer is to overcome this flaw by channeling tumor antigens into DCs and providing the conditions for their optimal maturation into potent immunostimulatory APCs. This article will focus specifically on the use of DCs as vaccines for cancer immunotherapy. We will examine DC biology, preclinical and clinical studies and finally efforts to improve current vaccine formulations.



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