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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 380697, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/380697
Review Article

Vaccines against Human Carcinomas: Strategies to Improve Antitumor Immune Responses

Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 7 December 2009; Accepted 8 January 2010

Academic Editor: Zhengguo Xiao

Copyright © 2010 Claudia Palena and Jeffrey Schlom. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Multiple observations in preclinical and clinical studies support a role for the immune system in controlling tumor growth and progression. Various components of the innate and adaptive immune response are able to mediate tumor cell destruction; however, certain immune cell populations can also induce a protumor environment that favors tumor growth and the development of metastasis. Moreover, tumor cells themselves are equipped with various mechanisms that allow them to evade surveillance by the immune system. The goal of cancer vaccines is to induce a tumor-specific immune response that ultimately will reduce tumor burden by tipping the balance from a protumor to an antitumor immune environment. This review discusses common mechanisms that govern immune cell activation and tumor immune escape, and some of the current strategies employed in the field of cancer vaccines aimed at enhancing activation of tumor-specific T-cells with concurrent reduction of immunosuppression.