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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 452606, 21 pages
Review Article

Profile of a Serial Killer: Cellular and Molecular Approaches to Study Individual Cytotoxic T-Cells following Therapeutic Vaccination

1Department of Research, University Hospital Center (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL), c/o HO, Niv 5, Labo 1532, Avenue Pierre-Decker 4, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
2Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd., University Hospital Center (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL), c/o HO, Niv 5, Labo 1552, Avenue Pierre-Decker 4, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

Received 30 August 2010; Accepted 29 September 2010

Academic Editor: James L. Gulley

Copyright © 2011 Emanuela M. Iancu et al. 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.


T-cell vaccination may prevent or treat cancer and infectious diseases, but further progress is required to increase clinical efficacy. Step-by-step improvements of T-cell vaccination in phase I/II clinical studies combined with very detailed analysis of T-cell responses at the single cell level are the strategy of choice for the identification of the most promising vaccine candidates for testing in subsequent large-scale phase III clinical trials. Major aims are to fully identify the most efficient T-cells in anticancer therapy, to characterize their TCRs, and to pinpoint the mechanisms of T-cell recruitment and function in well-defined clinical situations. Here we discuss novel strategies for the assessment of human T-cell responses, revealing in part unprecedented insight into T-cell biology and novel structural principles that govern TCR-pMHC recognition. Together, the described approaches advance our knowledge of T-cell mediated-protection from human diseases.