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Attempts to employ nucleic acids in gene therapy have become commonplace in …


Biology Articles » Biochemistry » Nucleic Acid Biochemistry » Series Introduction: Emerging clinical applications of nucleic acids » Nucleic acids that encode tumor antigens

Nucleic acids that encode tumor antigens
- Series Introduction: Emerging clinical applications of nucleic acids

The field of cancer immunotherapy has recently undergone a revolution with the discovery that vaccination with tumor antigen–loaded dendritic cells can elicit protective immunity in animals challenged with tumors (5). This observation has led many investigators to attempt to define the most effective tumor antigens for immunotherapy. Mitchell and Nair describe recent efforts to employ total tumor RNA as the source of antigen for such vaccination strategies. As the authors argue, one potential advantage of this approach is that such antigens can be obtained from even a few tumor cells taken from a patient, because standard molecular techniques allow RNA isolated from these cells to be amplified without limit. The authors also discuss the future clinical prospects for this new nucleic acid–based vaccination strategy.

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