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Dendritic cells for novel immmunotherapies

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Dendritic cells to the rescue

Dendritic cells (DCs) are key players of the immune system, implicated in both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. A European network of pioneers in the field of DC biology joined forces to support the use of DC-based therapies in clinical applications.

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DCs act as the specialised antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, facilitating the presentation of antigens to T cells and the induction of adaptive or ‘tailored’ responses and immunological memory. This property renders them invaluable tools for generating immunity against HIV and cancer. Alternatively, their regulatory activities might be exploited to overcome aberrant immune responses, such as those that lead to allergies, autoimmune diseases or transplant rejection. Consequently, the DC immunobiology holds tremendous exploitation potential for the development of specific immunotherapeutic approaches. The DC-THERA Network of Excellence placed 25 research groups and 6 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe under one umbrella with the aim to implement an information technology (IT)-based integrated knowledge management system and provide a European resource of databases for the field. Among the project’s objectives was facilitation of the translation of genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics information into therapeutic endpoints. in line with this aim, the EU-funded ‘Dendritic cells for novel immmunotherapies’ (DC-THERA) project created an infrastructure to facilitate collaborative working among its partners and integrate expertise and resources. By generating new research tools and technological platforms, project partners were able to translate important information of DC biology into clinical practice. Based on its findings, DC-THERA succeeded in emphasising the importance of DCs in vaccine development against cancer or AIDS. Manipulation of the unique properties of DCs brings hope for numerous sufferers worldwide towards the effective treatment of many debilitating diseases.

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