Embryonic stem cells: a novel source of dendritic cells for clinical applications.
Fairchild PJ., Nolan KF., Cartland S., Waldmann H.
As arbitrators of the immune response, dendritic cells (DC) are uniquely placed to negotiate the balance between the opposing forces of tolerance and immunity, making them attractive candidates for clinical applications. Accordingly, DC have been used successfully in the treatment of cancer, enhancing immune responses to tumour-associated antigens (TAA) in experimental animal models and phase I clinical trials. A novel source of DC that has recently been described is the embryonic stem (ES) cell whose differentiation in vitro may be directed along multiple lineage pathways. Such pluripotency offers unparalleled opportunities for the treatment of chronic and degenerative disease states by the replacement of affected tissues, a vision which has inspired the emerging field of regenerative medicine. By sharing the genotype of therapeutic cell types, such as cardiomyocytes and dopaminergic neurons derived from the same ES cell line, so-called esDC may offer prospects for reprogramming the immune system to tolerate the grafted tissues. Here, we describe how the unique properties of esDC and the ES cells from which they derive, make them eminently suited to clinical applications, overcoming many of the issues that currently limit the effectiveness of DC-based immune intervention.