Cancer Vaccines


The role of the immune system in preventing the development of tumours was first suggested by Paul Ehrlich in the early 1900s. Half a century later, Lewis Thomas and McFarlaine Burnet introduced the concept of immunosurveillance, meaning that immune cells while continuously patrolling the body recognise special antigens present only on transformed cells and eliminate these cells. They suggested that the type of cell responsible for tumour immunosurveillance is the T cell [1]. Direct experimental evidence confirming this hypothesis came from immunodeficient mouse strains, where the lack of certain components of the cellular immune response, such as interferon (IFN)-γ, perforin, and tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), lead to significantly more aggressive growth of experimental tumours [2]. More importantly, late onset of spontaneously occurring adenocarcinoma has been observed in IFN-γ and perforin-deficient mice [3]. Indirect evidence in humans is the survival benefit of cancer patients with tumours infiltrated with activated CD8+ T cells, observed in numerous cancers such as ovarian, prostate, colorectal, and mesothelioma [4–8].


Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Treg Cell Tumour Antigen Cancer Vaccine Chimeric Antigen Receptor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author thanks Mr B. Keszei for his assistance with the illustrations.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OncologySchool of Medicine, Cardiff University, Velindre Hospital, WhitchurchCardiffUK

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