Transimmunization, a novel approach for tumor immunotherapy

Transfus Apher Sci. 2002 Jun;26(3):205-16. doi: 10.1016/s1473-0502(02)00014-9.


This review describes our experience with the development of a novel form of immunotherapy that may represent the first practical and effective means of performing tumor-loaded dendritic cell (DC) immunotherapy. We have modified the highly successful extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) treatment that has been used in the therapy of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). autoimmune disease, transplantation rejection episodes and graft-versus-host disease to enhance its efficacy by the addition of an overnight incubation period. This adaption of ECP is termed "transimmunization (TI)" since the new therapy permits transfer of tumor antigens that have been previously poorly recognized to potent antigen presenting cells where the tumor epitopes can be displayed in the full context of major histocompatibility, co-stimulatory and adhesion molecules. The TI modification of ECP is a practical and safe means of rapidly inducing DC differentiation from peripheral blood monocytes in the presence of apoptotic tumor cells. Uptake of the apoptotic CTCL cells by the immature DC, in the presence of inflammatory cytokines, further drives their maturation into potent antigen presenting cells. Reinfusion of these tumor-loaded DC, that have access to the full spectrum of tumor antigens, has the potential to invoke an anti-tumor immune response in the recipient. Standard ECP has been a very useful form of immunotherapy and a modification of this approach that can enhance its ellicacy and utility should broaden its application to a larger variety of disorders including potentially the treatment of solid tumors and the modulation of the immune response in graft-versus-leukemia and graft-versus-host transplantation regimens. An understanding of the mechanism of ECP and TI will provide the physician with the ability to more finely tune the desired immune response and thereby, provide an enhanced immunotherapy for malignancy and other disorders of immunocompetence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Leukapheresis / methods
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Photopheresis / methods*