The diagnosis and treatment of inoperable cervical carcinoma severely affects the quality of life of patients and their caregivers. The one-year survival rate remains under 15%. Dendritic cells have been studied as adjuvants that modify the effects of tumor immunotherapy in humans. A case report has been published that describes the vaccination with dendritic cells of a patient with metastatic cervical cancer.
Tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells are used in patients with cancer with the goal of providing specific recognition and destruction of tumor cells. In adoptive T cell therapy, tumor-specific T cells are collected and multiplied (expanded) outside the body. This is done to obtain a much larger number of the tumor-specific T cells that the patient can be treated with more successfully.
Autologous (patient-specific) immunotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia will soon be tested in Phase III clinical trials in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow). Asterias (a regenerative medicine‒focused company) developed an autologous immunotherapy (AST-VAC1) designed to destroy tumor cells. AST-VAC1 immunotherapy is based on the use of a patient’s own dendritic cells to elicit immune system attack on telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that is expressed in stem cells and 95% of cancers, but it is rare or absent in normal adult cells.
Antitumor combination therapy is a strategy to mount a more successful attack on tumor growth. Significant suppression of tumor growth by enhancing cytotoxic T cell activation can be achieved with the combined use of an antitumor vaccine and immune checkpoint antibody treatment. The function of cancer vaccines include stimulating the immune system to mount an attack against tumor cells, as well as enhancing cytotoxic T cell reactions. However, checkpoint antibodies are treatments designed to inhibit factors that prevent the function of cytotoxic T cells. These factors represent one of the main weaponry used by cancer cells against immune system attack.
Helminth (parasitic worm) infection continues to pose health threats to people worldwide. The immune system (the body’s natural defense) plays an important role in fighting helminth infections. A key component of this immune function is the dendritic cell. Dendritic cells process and present disease-causing invaders to the immune system cells that can act to destroy or eliminate them. Dendritic cells are messengers between the two types of immune systems innate (rapid nonspecific immune response) and adaptive (specialized response). Given this function, dendritic cells are often referred to as “professional” antigen-presenting cells.