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Radiotherapy and the Immune System

Although radiotherapy primarily targets tumors, research over the last decade has provided evidence that ionizing radiation can provoke tumor‐specific immune responses by inducing immunogenic cancer cell death and reshaping the immunological tumor microenvironment, including cells with stem-cell-like properties. Now, a new STEM CELLS article from researchers led by Udo S. Gaipl (Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Friedrich‐Alexander‐Universität Erlangen‐Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany) discusses these effects and explores how a more in-depth understanding about related mechanisms may improve the therapeutic efficacy of immune therapies such as vaccines and immune checkpoint inhibitors in multimodal therapy settings, which include classical tumor therapies.