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Cellular immunotherapy for malignant gliomas

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Cancer immunotherapy has made much progress in recent years. Clinical trials evaluating a variety of immunotherapeutic approaches are underway in patients with malignant gliomas. Thanks to recent advancements in cell engineering technologies, infusion of ex vivo prepared immune cells have emerged as promising strategies of cancer immunotherapy.

Areas covered

Herein, the authors review recent and current studies using cellular immunotherapies for malignant gliomas. Specifically, they cover the following areas: a) cellular vaccine approaches using tumor cell-based or dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines, and b) adoptive cell transfer (ACT) approaches, including lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells, γδ T cells, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells and T-cell receptor (TCR) transduced T cells.

Expert opinion

While some of the recent studies have shown promising results, the ultimate success of cellular immunotherapy in brain tumor patients would require improvements in the following areas: 1) feasibility in producing cellular therapeutics; 2) identification and characterization of targetable antigens given the paucity and heterogeneity of tumor specific antigens; 3) the development of strategies to promote effector T-cell trafficking; 4) overcoming local and systemic immune suppression, and 5) proper interpretation of imaging data for brain tumor patients receiving immunotherapy.

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