CTL that lyse melanoma cells were previously isolated from several melanoma patients. Such CTL recognize autologous proteins, indicating the occurrence of autoreactive T cells in melanoma patients. We have now raised CTL, using responding T lymphocytes from healthy donor blood, that lysed not only cells incubated with an HLA-A*0201-binding tyrosinase peptide but also melanoma cells endogenously processing and presenting the epitope. Our results suggest that autoreactive CTL precursors are present in healthy donor blood and can be activated in vitro with synthetic peptides presented on appropriate APCs. Therefore, tissue-specific, autoantigen-derived peptides might be useful in immunotherapy of both poorly and nonimmunogenic tumors.

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