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NKT Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy

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Natural killer T (NKT) cells have enjoyed much attention in the immunology literature because of their bridging role between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Following activation, NKT cells rapidly produce cytokines and can also mediate direct cytotoxicity. Due to their potent effector functions, many ...

Natural killer T (NKT) cells have enjoyed much attention in the immunology literature because of their bridging role between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Following activation, NKT cells rapidly produce cytokines and can also mediate direct cytotoxicity. Due to their potent effector functions, many studies have investigated how to effectively modulate these cells in the context of cancer, infection, and transplantation. In fact, NKT cell agonists have been used as vaccine adjuvants to enhance antigen specific T and B cell responses. NKT cells play a critical role in cancer immune surveillance, however their functions may be impaired because NKT cells are reduced in cancer patients. Thus, strategies to increase numbers of circulating NKT cells are being developed for the treatment of a wide range of malignancies, including melanoma, breast cancer, lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma, and neuroblastoma. The goal of this Research Topic is to highlight our current understanding of the role of NKT cells in cancer immunotherapy and their use to overcome immunosuppression in cancer immunotherapy.


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