Dendritic cells (DC) play an essential role in the induction and regulation of immune responses, including the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) for the eradication of cancers. DC-based cancer vaccines are well tolerated with few side effects and can generate anti-tumour immune responses, but overall they have been of limited benefit. Recent studies have demonstrated that CD141(+) DC play an important role in anti-tumour responses. These are now attractive targets for the development of vaccines that directly target DC in vivo. An understanding of the functional specialisations of DC subsets, strategies for the delivery of tumour Ag to DC and for enhancing immune responses, point to promising new avenues for the design of more effective DC-based cancer vaccines.
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