Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Cell-based Immunotherapy of Cancer

Program researchers are uncovering the mechanism used by cancer to evade detection by the immune system. Building on their findings, researchers are in turn pursuing new therapies to help immune cells recognize and attack cancer cells. This work is carried out through the following research:

Dendritic Cell Therapy

Program member are studying the therapeutic potential of dendritic cells (DCs), special antigen-presenting cells that activate T lymphocytes. One approach under development involves inducing specific anti-tumor immunity in patients by loading DCs with tumor antigens and triggering a T cell-mediated immune response. Multiple studies at Stanford and elsewhere have already shown that antigen-loaded DC vaccinations represent a safe and promising form of immunotherapy for a wide range of malignancies. More

Lymphocyte and Dendritic Cell Trafficking

Understanding the migration patterns of white blood cells and the molecular interactions that guide them to local malignant sites is critical to manipulating the immune response in anti-cancer therapies. Eugene Butcher and his colleagues were the first to propose the combinatorial model of multi-step leukocyte trafficking, a theory now widely accepted throughout the medical world. More

Effector Lymphocytes and Molecules

Researchers are exploring the therapeutic use of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and their effector molecules. One approach is to extract tumor-cytolytic T cells from a patient and multiply and fortify them in vitro. By reintroducing these cells into the patient, it is hoped they will stimulate a more robust anti-cancer response. Researchers are also working to use the molecules produced by cytotoxic T lymphocytes that directly or indirectly lead to tumor cell death as therapeutic agents themselves. More

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