Manipulation of co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory checkpoint proteins allows for the reversal of tumor-induced T-cell anergy observed in cancer. The field has gained credence given success with CTLA-4 and PD-1 inhibitors. These molecules include immunoglobulin family members and the B7 subfamily as well as the TNF receptor family members. PD-L1 inhibitors and LAG-3 inhibitors have progressed through clinical trials. Other B7 family members have shown promise in preclinical models. TNFR superfamily members have shown variable success in preclinical and clinical studies. As clinical investigation in tumor immunology gains momentum, the next stage becomes learning how to combine checkpoint inhibitors and agonists with each other as well as with traditional chemotherapeutic agents.
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