Recent reports on the impressive efficacy of adoptively transferred T cells to challenge cancer in early phase clinical trials have significantly raised the profile of T cell therapy. Concomitantly, general expectations are also raised by these reports, with the natural aspiration to deliver this therapy over a wide range of tumor indications. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) endow T cell populations with defined antigen specificities that function independently of the natural T cell receptor and permit targeting of T cells towards virtually any tumor. Here, we review the current clinical application of CAR-T cells and relate clinical efficacy and safety of CAR-T cell trials to parameters considered critical for CAR engineering, classified as the three T's of CAR-T cell manipulation.
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