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Novel Approaches to Pediatric Cancer: Immunotherapy

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA

From the early 20th century, immunotherapy has been studied as a treatment modality for cancers, including in children. Since then, developments in monoclonal antibodies and vaccine therapies have helped to usher in a new era of cancer immunotherapeutics. However, efficacy of these types of therapies has been limited, mostly in part due to low tumor immunogenicity, cancer escape pathways, and toxicities. As researchers investigate the cellular and molecular components of immunotherapies, mechanisms to improve tumor specificity and overcome immune escape have been identified. The goal of immunotherapy now has been to modulate tumor escape pathways while amplifying the immune response by combining innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Although several limiting factors have been identified, these recent advances in immunotherapy remain at the forefront of pediatric oncologic therapeutic trials. Immunotherapy is now coming to the forefront of precision treatment for a variety of cancers, with evidence that agents targeting immunosuppressive mechanisms for cancer progression can be effective therapy [1-3]. In this review, we review various types of immunotherapy, including the cellular biology, limitations, recent novel therapeutics, and the application of immunotherapy to pediatric oncology.
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