Vaccination with T cell-defined antigens

Monica C. Panelli, Ena Wang, Vladia Monsurrò, Ping Jin, Katia Zavaglia, Kina Smith, Yvonne Ngalame, Francesco M. Marincola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Tumour immunology encompasses a broad array of biological phenomena including interactions between neoplastic cells and the innate and adaptive immune response. Among immune cells, T cells have taken the centre stage because they can be easily demonstrated to specifically recognise autologous cancer cells. As most tumour-associated antigens are intracellular proteins, T cells appear to be the most suitable tool for cancer-specific attack, as anti-bodies do not cross the cell membrane and the innate immune response lacks the same level of specificity. Finally, the relative ease in which T cells can be educated through antigen-specific immunisation to recognise cancer cells has elevated them to an even higher stature. In this review, it will be argued that T cells represent a unique anticancer agent, characterised by absolute specificity. Although other therapeutic modalities (antibody-based) have been effectively implemented, a comparison of T cell-based approaches with other modalities goes beyond the purposes of this review and will not be included in the discussion. However, it is obvious that the role of the T cell is limited and other components of the immune response (effector mononuclear phagocytes, natural killer cells, cytokines, chemokines, soluble factors), genetic background and tumour heterogeneity are likely to be necessary for the completion of cancer rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-707
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004



  • IL-2
  • Immunisation
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry

Cite this

Panelli, M. C., Wang, E., Monsurrò, V., Jin, P., Zavaglia, K., Smith, K., Ngalame, Y., & Marincola, F. M. (2004). Vaccination with T cell-defined antigens. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, 4(5), 697-707.