Several types of B-cell malignancy, including but not limited to multiple myeloma and follicular lymphoma, are still considered incurable. In a substantial number of cases, patients must undergo either autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation as a standard of care procedure for their disease. Among experimental treatments for multiple myeloma and follicular lymphoma, idiotypic vaccination has been attempted over the last two decades with variable degrees of success. Few clinical trials have combined stem cell transplant procedures with idiotypic vaccination, and they are the subject of this review, which will also include some of our original data, as well as our overall evaluation of this field of clinical investigation. Although apparently at the opposite extremes of the therapeutic option array, toxicity-burdened stem cell transplantation and virtually innocuous idiotypic vaccination might well offer a sound curative opportunity to some patients with otherwise incurable B-cell malignancies, provided that the latter treatment first succeeds at obtaining regulatory approval.
Keywords: vaccine therapy, self tolerance mechanisms, prophylaxis, tumor-specific idiotype epitopes, efficacious, B-cell malignancy, idiotypic vaccination, stem cell transplant, allogeneic, autologous, lymphoma, Myeloma
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