Laurence C Eisenlohr And Jay L Rothstein

Thomas Jefferson University

In the ongoing search for effective and reliable immune-based approaches to cancer therapy, much of the work is focused on T lymphocytes as effectors. CD8+ T lymphocytes (TCD8+) are of particular interest as they combine specificity and lethality at a level that no current chemotherapeutic or radiation regimen can match. One can only marvel at the effectiveness with which these cells are able to clear an acute respiratory tract infection, leaving the involved tissues intact—the precise goal of cancer therapy. CD4+ T lymphocytes (TCD4+), relatively specific, but generally less cytotoxic than TCD8+, can also mediate potent anti-tumor effects in certain settings. While a great deal has been learned about how TCD4+ and TCD8+ responses are induced and sustained, further exploration will be necessary if the full potential of these populations is to be harnessed. One aspect worthy of closer inspection is that of antigen processing and presentation—the various intracellular steps that prepare antigen for T cell recognition. It is intuitive that greater understanding and controlled manipulation of these events, which usher in the adaptive response, could have profound influence on the final character of the anti-tumor immunity that is engendered.

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