Dendritic cell vaccines targeting survivin in head and neck cancer.
Evaluation of: Turksma AW, Bontkes HJ, Ruizendaal JJ et al. Exploring dendritic cell based vaccines targeting survivin for the treatment of head and neck cancer patients. J. Transl. Med. 11, 152-165 (2013). Survivin has been identified to be an inhibitor of apoptosis and is highly expressed in many cancers. A number of strategies have targeted survivin as a novel cancer therapy approach. The evaluated paper makes a number of observations regarding the presence of survivin-specific T cells, as well as attempts for in vitro expansion. The research team has shown that survivin-specific T cells can be measured ex vivo in the peripheral blood of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by tetramer analysis and from the tumor-draining lymph node of a patient with locally advanced breast cancer by ELIspot analysis. Furthermore, dendritic cells electroporated with survivin and cytokine (i.e., IL-12 and IL-21) mRNA can be used to generate survivin-specific T cells in vitro. However, the enriched or cloned survivin-specific T cells isolated from patients or obtained by in vitro induction could not be maintained for prolonged periods of time. The study team proposed that one explanation for this is fracticide, as activated T cells were shown to express survivin. The evaluated paper therefore concluded that strategies that rely on expansion and adoptive transfer of survivin-specific T cells would not be possible.
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