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Immunotherapy at Large: The road to personalized cancer vaccines

The field of tumor immunology has been flooded with exciting therapeutic advances on many fronts. Immunotherapies targeting T cell inhibitory molecules have proven highly effective in some cancers, but additional strategies to induce tumor immunity, such as cancer vaccination, could further increase tumor killing. The combination of both will probably be the way forward in future immunotherapy. In 'Bedside to Bench', Robert Vonderheide and Katherine Nathanson discuss the potential of cancer genomics to identify specific tumor mutations in patients that may be used as targets in cancer vaccines to overcome problems linked to self-antigen epitopes used nowadays. Despite the existing biological and technical hurdles, a framework to implement personalized cancer vaccines in the clinic may be worth considering. In 'Bench to Bedside', Glenn Dranoff peruses the clinical efficacy and detrimental effects of two T cell immune-checkpoint inhibitors, alone and in combination, in patients with melanoma. The studies underscore the need to continue investigating specific tumor events directly involving tumor evasion to develop combinatorial strategies that will reduce drug-related pathology while achieving anti-tumor efficacy.

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Figure 1: Development of personalized cancer vaccines.

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Correspondence to Robert H Vonderheide.

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Vonderheide, R., Nathanson, K. Immunotherapy at Large: The road to personalized cancer vaccines. Nat Med 19, 1098–1100 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3317

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