Dendritic Cells (DCs) are immune cells forming part of the mammalian immune system. They capture and transfer information to the cells of the adaptive immune system, hence induce the primary immune response. They are also important for the induction of immunological tolerance, and also for the regulation of the type of T cell-mediated immune response.
The main role of the Dendritic Cells in immune response was discovered by Professor Ralph M. Steinman (1943 – 2011) in 1973. Although the understanding of DC biology is still in its infancy, but the protocol with DC-based immunotherapy has begun in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. In 2011, Ralph M. Steinman was awarded with the Nobel Award in Medicine for his discovery of dendritic cells and their role in adaptive immunity.
The discovery made huge impact on the research of the science of immunology and its interfaces with medicine, cancer immunotherapy also took the advantage of this discovery and many treatment approaches have been developed.
Dendritic cells arise from CD34 hematopaetic bone marrow stem cells. The precursors differentiate into immature dendritic cells, which can be found in various tissues and function as outposts of the immune system. Once it encounters pathogens, the dendritic cell matures into a potent APC and migrates to T cell zones in organized lymphoid tissues. After delivering their signal to T cells, the dendritic cells may undergo apoptosis.
Features of Dendritic Cells Based Immunotherapy
The features of dendritic cells (DCs) induced antigen-specific immune responses:
- Dendritic cells are the powerful antigen-presenting cells in human body, they have the ability to activate the T cells.
- Sensitization helper T cells can be a variety of cytokines, significantly stimulated the proliferation of naive T cells.
- Helping cancer patients rebuild the immune surveillance to tumor cells.
DC-CIK Therapy is the immunotherapy that uses CIK (Cytokine-induced Killer) cells where are induced and transfected by DC (Dendritic Cells). DC presents the tumor antigen to the CIK cells and enhance its ability to recognize and kill the cancer cells.