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Journal: Nature reviews. Immunology


The T lymphocyte, especially its capacity for antigen-directed cytotoxicity, has become a central focus for engaging the immune system in the fight against cancer. Basic science discoveries elucidating the molecular and cellular biology of the T cell have led to new strategies in this fight, including checkpoint blockade, adoptive cellular therapy and cancer vaccinology. This area of immunological research has been highly active for the past 50 years and is now enjoying unprecedented bench-to-bedside clinical success. Here, we provide a comprehensive historical and biological perspective regarding the advent and clinical implementation of cancer immunotherapeutics, with an emphasis on the fundamental importance of T lymphocyte regulation. We highlight clinical trials that demonstrate therapeutic efficacy and toxicities associated with each class of drug. Finally, we summarize emerging therapies and emphasize the yet to be elucidated questions and future promise within the field of cancer immunotherapy.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Understanding of the fundamental processes underlying the versatile clinical manifestations of COVID-19 is incomplete without comprehension of how different immune cells are recruited to various compartments of virus-infected lungs, and how this recruitment differs among individuals with different levels of disease severity. As in other respiratory infections, leukocyte recruitment to the respiratory system in people with COVID-19 is orchestrated by specific leukocyte trafficking molecules, and when uncontrolled and excessive it results in various pathological complications, both in the lungs and in other organs. In the absence of experimental data from physiologically relevant animal models, our knowledge of the trafficking signals displayed by distinct vascular beds and epithelial cell layers in response to infection by SARS-CoV-2 is still incomplete. However, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus elicit partially conserved inflammatory responses in the different respiratory epithelial cells encountered early in infection and may trigger partially overlapping combinations of trafficking signals in nearby blood vessels. Here, we review the molecular signals orchestrating leukocyte trafficking to airway and lung compartments during primary pneumotropic influenza virus infections and discuss potential similarities to distinct courses of primary SARS-CoV-2 infections. We also discuss how an imbalance in vascular activation by leukocytes outside the airways and lungs may contribute to extrapulmonary inflammatory complications in subsets of patients with COVID-19. These multiple molecular pathways are potential targets for therapeutic interventions in patients with severe COVID-19.


Neuroimmunology is one of the fastest-growing fields in the life sciences, and for good reason; it fills the gap between two principal systems of the organism, the nervous system and the immune system. Although both systems affect each other through bidirectional interactions, we focus here on one direction - the effects of the nervous system on immunity. First, we ask why is it beneficial to allow the nervous system any control over immunity? We evaluate the potential benefits to the immune system that arise by taking advantage of some of the brain’s unique features, such as its capacity to integrate and synchronize physiological functions, its predictive capacity and its speed of response. Second, we explore how the brain communicates with the peripheral immune system, with a focus on the endocrine, sympathetic, parasympathetic, sensory and meningeal lymphatic systems. Finally, we examine where in the brain this immune information is processed and regulated. We chart a partial map of brain regions that may be relevant for brain-immune system communication, our goal being to introduce a conceptual framework for formulating new hypotheses to study these interactions.


In recent decades, the incidence of many apparently unrelated chronic diseases has markedly increased. Here, I theorize that losses of particular bacterial species of our ancestral microbiota have altered the context in which immunological, metabolic and cognitive development occur in early life, which results in increased disease. This ominous trend suggests that we must refocus efforts to understand and reverse the underlying circumstances that are responsible for our disappearing microbiota.

Concepts: Medicine, Archaea, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Asthma, Medical terms, Infection


Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) preparations comprise pooled IgG antibodies from the serum of thousands of donors and were initially used as an IgG replacement therapy in immunocompromised patients. Since the discovery, more than 30 years ago, that IVIG therapy can ameliorate immune thrombocytopenia, the use of IVIG preparations has been extended to a wide range of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Despite the broad efficacy of IVIG therapy, its modes of action remain unclear. In this Review, we cover the recent insights into the molecular and cellular pathways that are involved in IVIG-mediated immunosuppression, with a particular focus on IVIG as a therapy for IgG-dependent autoimmune diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Immunology, Humoral immunity, Immunity, Antigen, Intravenous immunoglobulin, Immunosuppressive drug


Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is a mechanism by which the pathogenesis of certain viral infections is enhanced in the presence of sub-neutralizing or cross-reactive non-neutralizing antiviral antibodies. In vitro modelling of ADE has attributed enhanced pathogenesis to Fcγ receptor (FcγR)-mediated viral entry, rather than canonical viral receptor-mediated entry. However, the putative FcγR-dependent mechanisms of ADE overlap with the role of these receptors in mediating antiviral protection in various viral infections, necessitating a detailed understanding of how this diverse family of receptors functions in protection and pathogenesis. Here, we discuss the diversity of immune responses mediated upon FcγR engagement and review the available experimental evidence supporting the role of FcγRs in antiviral protection and pathogenesis through ADE. We explore FcγR engagement in the context of a range of different viral infections, including dengue virus and SARS-CoV, and consider ADE in the context of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


The upregulation of immune checkpoint molecules, such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4), on immune cells occurs during acute infections, such as malaria, as well as during chronic persistent viral infections, including HIV and hepatitis B virus. These pathways are important for preventing immune-driven pathology but can also limit immune-mediated clearance of the infection. The recent success of immune checkpoint blockade in cancer therapy suggests that targeting these pathways would also be effective for preventing and treating a range of infectious diseases. Here, we review our current understanding of immune checkpoint pathways in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases and discuss the potential for therapeutically targeting these pathways in this setting.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Disease, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Infection, Cytotoxic T cell, Hepatitis B


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis can be divided into two major subsets characterized by the presence versus absence of antibodies to citrullinated protein antigens (ACPAs) and of rheumatoid factor (RF). The antibody-positive subset of disease, also known as seropositive rheumatoid arthritis, constitutes approximately two-thirds of all cases of rheumatoid arthritis and generally has a more severe disease course. ACPAs and RF are often present in the blood long before any signs of joint inflammation, which suggests that the triggering of autoimmunity may occur at sites other than the joints (for example, in the lung). This Review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of this gradual disease development in seropositive patients. We also emphasize the implications of this new understanding for the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies. Similar temporal and spatial separation of immune triggering and clinical manifestations, with novel opportunities for early intervention, may also occur in other immune-mediated diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Protein, Infection, Immunology, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Arthritis


As B cells engage in the immune response, they express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) to initiate the hypermutation and recombination of immunoglobulin genes, which are crucial processes for the efficient recognition and disposal of pathogens. However, AID must be tightly controlled in B cells to minimize off-target mutations, which can drive chromosomal translocations and the development of B cell malignancies, such as lymphomas. Recent genomic and biochemical analyses have begun to unravel the mechanisms of how AID-mediated deamination is targeted outside immunoglobulin genes. Here, we discuss the transcriptional and topological features that are emerging as key drivers of AID promiscuous activity.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Cancer, Bacteria, Adaptive immune system


Cytokine networks are crucial aspects of tumour immunology, particularly for colorectal cancer (CRC), in which inflammation and antitumour immunity are key determinants of disease progression. In this Review, we highlight new insights into the functions of well-known cytokines in CRC, describe recently discovered roles for a growing number of novel players, and emphasize the complexity and therapeutic implications of the cytokine milieu. We also discuss how cancer mutations and epigenetic adaptations influence the oncogenic potential of cytokines, a relatively unexplored area that could yield crucial insights into tumour immunology and facilitate the effective application of cytokine-modulatory therapies for CRC.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Medicine, Cancer, Interleukin 1, Apoptosis, Colorectal cancer, Interleukin