Dendritic cells are emerging as a critical cell type that is correlated with basic cancer immunobiology and also be considered as potential targets or at least as key players in any effort intended to generate therapeutic vaccines
Anjana Majumder, Partha Majumder
Dendritic cells are central to the initiation of primary immune responses. They are the only antigen-presenting cell capable of stimulating naive T cells, and hence they are pivotal in the generation of adaptive immunity. Dendritic cells also interact with and influence the response of cells of the innate immune system. The manner in which dendritic cells influence the responses in cells of both the innate and adaptive immune systems has consequences for the bias of the adaptive response that mediates immunity to infection after vaccination or infection. It also provides an opportunity to intervene and to influence the response, allowing ways of developing appropriate vaccination strategies. Dendritic cells (DC) are responsible for initiating all antigen-specific immune responses. As such, they are the master regulators of the immune response and serve this function by linking the microbial sensing features of the innate immune system to the exquisite specificity of the adaptive response. They are exceptionally efficient at antigen presentation and also adept at generating just the right type of T cells in response to a given pathogen. Importantly, DCs also help guide the immune system to respond to foreign antigens while avoiding the generation of autoimmune responses to self. DCs are thus paradoxically important in cancer, generating both immunity and tolerance. Given their central role in controlling the immune response in patients with cancer, DCs are emerging as a critical cell type that must be considered as we come to understand basic cancer immunobiology. They should also be considered as potential targets or at least as key players in any effort intended to generate therapeutic vaccines.