, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 692-699
Date: 19 May 2005

Active Antigen-specific Immunotherapy of Melanoma: from Basic Science to Clinical Investigation

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Advanced-stage melanoma here dismal prognosis, and novel therapeutic approaches are urgently required. The possibility of taking advantage of the immune response of patients for its treatment has been an appealing concept for almost a century. Only during the last decade, however, has the molecular identification of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) offered the possibility of vaccinating patients (e.g., active induction of TAA-specific immune responses). Active antigen-specific immunotherapy (AASIT) is currently being investigated in a number of clinical centers as a treatment option for advanced-stage melanoma. A large number of melanoma TAAs have been molecularly characterized and are being used in vaccination trials in various molecular forms and according to various immunization protocols. Here we provide a short overview on melanoma TAAs, the technologies currently in use to induce specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses in vivo, and their monitoring. We also propose a tentative AASIT agenda for the next few years, aiming at improving the capacity to induce and monitor TAA-specific immune responses and to verify their clinical effectiveness.

This work was partially funded by grants from the Swiss Bridge Foundation and by the Swiss Science Foundation.