Tumour immunology has seen many exciting developments in the last few years. In addition to tumour antigens that are defined by antitumour T- and B-cell responses in patients, the human telomerase reverse transcriptase has been identified by 'reverse immunology' as the first truly universal tumour antigen. Molecular remission has been associated with a cancer vaccine that targets the clonal idiotype of B-cell malignancies, and sophisticated cellular vaccines including fusions of tumour cells and antigen-presenting cells) have demonstrated promising results. Moreover, our capabilities of measuring immunity have been significantly enhanced by novel technology, such as major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-peptide tetramers and ELISPOT analysis. We are now capable of tracking antigen-specific T cells at a single cell level. This review will analyse recent developments and highlight some important issues that need to be addressed in the future.
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