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    ABSTRACT: NKT cells comprise a rare, but important subset of T cells which account for ~0.2% of the total circulating T cell population. NKT cells are known to have anti-tumor functions and rapidly produce high levels of cytokines following activation. Several clinical trials have sought to exploit the effector functions of NKT cells. While some studies have shown promise, NKT cells are approximately 50% lower in cancer patients compared to healthy donors of the same age and gender, thus limiting their therapeutic efficacy. These studies indicate that baseline levels of activation should be assessed before initiating an NKT cell based immunotherapeutic strategy, thus the goal of this study was to develop a sensitive method to rapidly assess NKT cell function. We utilized artificial antigen presenting cells in combination with qPCR in order to determine NKT cell function in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy donors and breast cancer patients. We found that NKT cell activation can be detected by qPCR, but not by ELISA, in healthy donors as well as in breast cancer patients following four hour stimulation. This method utilizing CD1d-expressing aAPC will enhance our knowledge of NKT cell biology and could potentially be used as a novel tool in adoptive immunotherapeutic strategies.
    Journal of immunological methods 04/2014; · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer in the western world. Over the last few decades little improvement has been made to increase the relatively low 5-year survival rate. This calls for novel and improved therapies. Here, we describe opportunities in immunotherapy for head and neck cancer patients and hurdles yet to be overcome. Viruses are involved in a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cases. The incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer is increasing and is a distinctly different disease from other head and neck carcinomas. Virus-induced tumors express viral antigens that are good targets for immunotherapeutic treatment options. The type of immunotherapeutic treatment, either active or passive, should be selected depending on the HPV status of the tumor and the immune status of the patient.
    Immunotherapy 01/2013; 5(1):49-61. · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past decades advances in bioengineering and expanded insight in tumor immunology have resulted in the emergence of novel bispecific antibody (bsAb) constructs that are capable of redirecting immune effector cells to the tumor microenvironment. (Pre-) clinical studies of various bsAb constructs have shown impressive results in terms of immune effector cell retargeting, target dependent activation and the induction of anti-tumor responses. This review summarizes recent advances in the field of bsAb-therapy and limitations that were encountered. Furthermore, we will discuss potential future developments that can be expected to take the bsAb approach successfully forward.
    Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology 08/2014; · 4.64 Impact Factor