Because of the presence of unique antigens, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) represents an appealing target for
immunotherapy. The progress achieved in the fields of gene therapy, tumour immunology and vaccinology offers a
wide spectrum of methods that could be utilized for the development of therapeutic vaccines against CML. Experience
obtained in several clinical studies with peptide-based vaccines have made it clear that it is possible to induce
specific immune reactivity; however, its clinical efficacy has been low if any. Studies in mouse systems, which are
under way, should be helpful in defining the optimal strategy for immunizing human subjects against bcr-abl positive
cells. The author adduces some advantages, but also the limitations, of animal models for this purpose. He also
comments on the possibility that the bcr-abl-based therapeutic vaccines might be found ineffective and proposes procedures
how to deal with the problem.
chronic myelogenous leukaemia, immunology, vaccines.