The clinical efficacy of most therapeutic vaccines against cancer has not yet met its promise. Data are emerging that strongly support the notion that combining immunotherapy with conventional therapies, for example, radiation and chemotherapy may improve efficacy. In particular combination with chemotherapy may lead to improved clinical efficacy by clearing suppressor cells, reboot of the immune system, by rendering tumor cells more susceptible to immune mediated killing, or by activation of cells of the immune system. In addition, a range of tumor antigens have been characterized to allow targeting of proteins coupled to intrinsic properties of cancer cells. For example, proteins associated with drug resistance can be targeted, and form ideal target structures for use in combination with chemotherapy for killing of surviving drug resistant cancer cells. Proteins associated with the malignant phenotype can be targeted to specifically target cancer cells, but proteins targeted by immunotherapy may also simultaneously target cancer cells as well as suppressive cells in the tumor stroma.
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