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Cancer immunology 

Cancer immunology
Chapter:
Cancer immunology
Author(s):

Herman Waldmann

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198779452.003.0023
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date: 10 August 2020

Until recently, the prospects for harnessing immune mechanisms to fight cancer were not encouraging. The advent of monoclonal antibodies, both as diagnostics and as probes for molecular function, have been important, while the identification of dendritic cells as a major intermediary between the antigen source and T-cell activation has been crucial. Major advances in molecular biology and the creation of mutant mice lacking defined gene products have pinpointed key molecules influencing immune function. Finally, many translational efforts in vaccination, autoimmune disease, and transplantation have enabled identification of hitherto undervalued mechanisms that the immune system uses to regulate itself. A fuller understanding of self-tolerance mechanisms, tumour antigens, and the tumour microenvironment has catalysed a wide range of novel therapeutic strategies and has also allowed a re-evaluation of mechanisms underlying the benefits of past chemotherapies.

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