The right touch: T cell activation via artificial antigen-presenting cells
Weijden, J. van der
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Key players in mediating the immune response are dendritic cells (DCs), a professional type of antigen-presenting cell (APC). DCs capture, process and present compounds that are derived from undesired agents (antigens) via MHC/antigen complexes on their cell surface to activate T cells, which in turn track down the antigen source and clear it from the body. Through their function as antigen-presenting cells, DCs are vital mediators in the development of cancer immunity, and it is this finding that has led researchers to seek ways of manipulating the immune system in the context of cancer immunotherapy. For a better understanding of T cell activation, artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) have been developed. These simplified DC mimics usually incorporate the basic elements required for T cell activation on a material scaffold and have proven useful for the production of large amounts of activated T cells.This review explores the role scaffold morphology in cellular interaction and signaling. Its focus will be on the biomimicry of APCs in the context of cancer immunotherapy using artificial scaffolds.