Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) have frequently been observed in patients with cancer. This heterogeneous population of myeloid cells can exert potent suppression of lymphocyte function and thereby poses a significant hurdle to natural or therapeutically induced anti-tumor immunity. On the other hand, the natural function of MDSC is not yet well understood and their role in infection, inflammation and autoimmune disease is still puzzling. Understanding MDSC biology will provide the tools necessary for therapeutic targeting of this population, but also permit exploitation of their strong tolerogenic function in the treatment of inflammatory conditions and the prevention of graft rejection.
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