The vigor of defense against non-self: potential superiority of allorestrictedT cells in immunotherapy of cancer?

Burdach, Stefan; Kolb, Hans-Jochem
May 2013
Frontiers in Oncology;May2013, Vol. 3, p1
Academic Journal
Men and sharks are both jawed vertebrates at the top of the food chain. Sharks are the first extant to develop adaptive immunity preserved to man throughout jawed vertebrates. We hypothesize here, that T cell receptor/major histocompatibility complex (TCR/MHC) interactions developed as the defense mechanism of carnivors against takeover by their victims' cells derived pathogens. Germline encoded TCR segments have been conserved in evolution, providing the MHC bias of TCR. Ancestor genes of MHC polymorphisms may have first developed as a mating preference system, that later in evolution provided host immune responses destroying infectious non-self, yet maintaining tolerance to self. Pathogens may thus have simultaneously selected for alloimmunity. Allorejection has been observed in sharks and men. Cannibalism is a common ecological interaction in the animal kingdom, especially prevalent in aquatic communities; it favors selection of intraspecies allo responses for defense of self integrity. Alloreactive T cells do not undergo negative selection of strong TCR/MHC interactions; thus, they react stronger than self-MHC recognizing T cells. High levels of genetic diversity at MHC genes play a critical role in protecting populations of vertebrate species from contagious cells displaying stemness and homing features, including cancer cells. Recognition of self-MHC fails especially in diseases, which predominantly arise with age and after the peak of reproduction, e.g., cancer. So far, the treatment of malignant disease with autologous T cells has widely failed. Allorecognition constitutes an extremely powerful mechanism in evolution, which may be employed in immunotherapy of cancer by MHC-disparate, e.g., haploidentical transplantation and consecutive treatment with T cells from the donor parents recognizing tumor selective peptides presented by the non-inherited haplotype on the tumor.


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