First Advisor

William L. Redmond

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Anthropology and University Honors




Cancer vaccines, Cancer -- Immunotherapy, Tumors -- Immunological aspects, Dendritic cells




Immunotherapy is an emergent form of cancer therapy that offers new and innovative techniques that work to enhance the body’s natural ability to defend itself against harm. This thesis seeks to explore the efficacy of vaccines that target dendritic cells as one particular form of immunotherapy. Vaccination has the potential to provide antigen (Ag) that is accessible to be processed by dendritic cells, deliver the antigen to the dendritic cells, encourage dendritic cell maturation and further promote the ability of dendritic cells to present antigen to effector cells to encourage a tumor antigen-specific immune response. There are several different elements in the process of achieving these ends including delivery of antigen to dendritic cells in-vivo or ex-vivo, antigen selection, antigen-carrier use, addition of adjuvants and the targeting of antigen to dendritic cells through soluble mediators. These different components of dendritic cell-directed vaccinations will be detailed and reviewed in order to understand the efficacy and immune-stimulating potential of possible vaccines. Additionally, through a series of experiments, we were able to determine that primed dendritic cells dramatically increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines after micro-particle endocytosis. These preliminary tests demonstrate that the tumor-Ag conjugated micro-particle matures dendritic cells to promote and activate an immune response. The results of the experiments that were performed and analysis of the various methods available for DC vaccination indicates that this method of cancer therapy has extensive potential and requires further testing to enhance efficacy and manufacturability of the vaccines.


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