The ABCs of artificial antigen presentation

Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Apr;22(4):403-10. doi: 10.1038/nbt955.


Artificial antigen presentation aims to accelerate the establishment of therapeutic cellular immunity. Artificial antigen-presenting cells (AAPCs) and their cell-free substitutes are designed to stimulate the expansion and acquisition of optimal therapeutic features of T cells before therapeutic infusion, without the need for autologous antigen-presenting cells. Compelling recent advances include fibroblast AAPCs that process antigens, magnetic beads that are antigen specific, novel T-cell costimulatory combinations, the augmentation of therapeutic potency of adoptively transferred T lymphocytes by interleukin-15, and the safe use of dendritic cell-derived exosomes pulsed with tumor antigen. Whereas the safety and potency of the various systems warrant further preclinical and clinical studies, these emerging technologies are poised to have a major impact on adoptive T-cell therapy and the investigation of T cell-mediated immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / cytology
  • Antigens / chemistry*
  • Cancer Vaccines / chemistry
  • Cell-Free System
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Insecta
  • Interleukin-15 / metabolism
  • Liposomes / metabolism
  • Magnetics
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Vaccines, Synthetic


  • Antigens
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Interleukin-15
  • Liposomes
  • Vaccines, Synthetic