Immunotherapy for acute leukemias

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Abstract

Successful immunotherapy for cancer and, in particular, monoclonal antibody-based therapy are most likely to succeed first for the hematopoietic neoplasms because of their biology and because of the pharmacology of monoclonal antibodies. Ten years of steady development in the field, including identification of better antigen-antibody systems, genetic engineering of humanized monoclonal antibodies, construction of new toxin and radionuclide conjugates, and better understanding of the interactions of monoclonal antibodies with cytokines, eg, interleukin-2, has led to a series of recent trials showing significant activity of monoclonal antibodies in leukemias. This activity encompasses the ablation of large masses of cells prior to bone marrow transplantation, as well as the elimination of minimal disease in vivo and ex vivo.

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