The immune system is a tightly regulated and complex system. An important part of this immune regulation is the assurance of tolerance toward self-antigens to maintain immune homeostasis. However, in recent years, antigen-specific cellular immune responses toward several normal self-proteins expressed in regulatory immune cells have been reported, especially in patients with cancer. The seemingly lack of tolerance toward such proteins is interesting, as it suggests a regulatory function of self-reactive T (srT) cells, which may be important for the fine tuning of the immune system. In particular, surprising has been the description of cytotoxic srT cells that are able to eliminate normal regulatory immune cells. Such srT cells may be important as effector cells that suppress regulatory suppressor cells. The current knowledge of the nature and function of srT cells is still limited. Still, the therapeutic targeting of srT cells offers a novel approach to harness immune-regulatory networks in cancer.
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy : Cii, 2014, Vol 63, Issue 4, p. 313-319
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review