Outsourcing the immune response to cancer

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Science  10 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6291, pp. 1275-1276
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag1547

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One challenge in the field of cancer immunotherapy is to improve patient responses to current immune therapies that enhance the capacity of T cells to kill tumors by blocking inhibitory pathways called immune checkpoints. The recent identification of mutated proteins in tumors, called neoantigens, as the main targets of effective antitumor immunity offers the opportunity to design therapies that stimulate highly focused antitumor T cell responses (1). On page 1337 of this issue, Strønen et al. (2) report that a much greater frequency of tumor mutations are immunogenic than initially estimated, and that healthy donors can provide T cells that are reactive to these neoantigens. The findings point to a new individualized approach for expanding immunotherapies.