Active Specific Immunotherapy Vaccines

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As a general concept a "therapeutic antitumor vaccine" refers to the subcutaneous administration of a tumor-specific antigen with the intent to induce an active and possibly long-lasting humoral and/or cellular immune response able to eliminate tumor cells harboring the putative antigen. Many years of disappointing clinical results with antitumor vaccines against different types of advanced solid tumors has taught tumor immunologists that the best setting for effective immunotherapy is the situation of MRD (10). In CML, like in other tumors, the ideal vaccine candidate would be an antigen expressed only in tumor cells, but common to all patients. It should be highly immunogenic and should be essential for tumor cell survival, and thus not susceptible to mutation or deletion. Several CML antigens have been identified as potential targets for an anti-CML vaccine strategy (Fig. 1), and different approaches at different stages of development are now under evaluation for CML patients (Table 1).

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