Modification of Dendritic Cells to Enhance Cancer Vaccine Potency



Antigen-specific immunotherapy has emerged as an attractive approach for the treatment of cancers because it has the potency to specifically eradicate systemic tumors and control metastases without damaging normal cells. It is now clear that professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in the generation of antigen-specific immune responses induced by cancer vaccines. Therefore, strategies to enhance the potency of cancer vaccines should focus on the modification of the properties of DCs either in vivo or ex vivo. These strategies include (1) increasing the number of antigen-expressing DCs; (2) improving antigen expression, processing, and presentation in DCs; (3) promoting DC activation and function; and (4) enhancing DC and T cell interaction to augment vaccine-elicited T cell immune responses. Because many of these strategies modify the properties of DCs to enhance cancer vaccine potency through different mechanisms, they could potentially be combined to generate highly potent cancer vaccines. The encouraging results from preclinical studies employing these strategies have led to several clinical trials. Continued exploration of innovative strategies to enhance cancer vaccine potency through the modification of DC properties may lead to the generation of more effective vaccines for the control of cancer.


Treg Cell Cancer Vaccine Cell Immune Response Vaccine Potency Lysosomal Target Signal 



We gratefully acknowledge Ms. Barbara Ma for assistance in preparation of the review. This review is not intended to be an encyclopedic one, and the authors apologize to those not cited. This work is supported by the NCI SPORE in Cervical Cancer P50 CA098252, NCI 1RO1 CA114425–01 and 1RO1 CA118790 and American Cancer Society (ACS).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Cancer Research Building II Room 309Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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