Aberrantly expressed self-antigens in leukemic cells are a kind of leukemia-associated-antigens (LAAs). Although such self-antigen-derived LAAs potentially induce high avidity CTLs in patients with leukemia, these CTLs usually do not persist in the patients because they undergo apoptosis upon encountering with leukemic cells. In allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) recipients with leukemia, LAAs-specific high avidity CTL may be elicited from donor-derived naive T cells that are sensitized by residual leukemic cells. Cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) is a cell cycle regulator protein that is aberrantly expressed by leukemia cells. We previously reported that two CDK2-derived peptides (CDK2 158-166, CDK2 178-186) avidly bound to HLA-A24 molecule to elicit each peptide-specific CTLs from HLA identical donor of a AML patient, and CDK2-specific CD8 + T cells preferentially killed the recipient AML cells which aberrantly expressed CDK2 protein (
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