Harnessing the power of the immune system to eliminate infection and cancer is a long-standing goal in clinical immunology. The development of a robust immune response to foreign antigen relies, in part, on communication between cellular components of the immune system. The proteins involved in governing the magnitude and longevity of an immune response are collectively called cytokines. Cytokines act directly on immune cells to induce proliferation, differentiation and tolerance, and signaling errors can lead to autoimmune disease or immune deficiency. Identification of the molecules involved in these signaling processes has allowed investigators to manipulate immune cells for therapeutic effect, both in vivo and ex vivo. While in vivo immune modulation using cytokines has produced some exciting results, the toxicity involved with systemic administration has limited their broad use in the clinic. Therefore, research has been focused on the ex vivo manipulation of immune cells for adoptive transfer to treat cancer and infection. This review will focus on the ex vivo manipulation of immune cells with particular emphasis on stimulating cytotoxic T cell responses. Adoptive transfer of ex vivo generated cell types may then be used to treat malignant and viral disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery