Paths to stemness: building the ultimate antitumour T cell

Nat Rev Cancer. 2012 Oct;12(10):671-84. doi: 10.1038/nrc3322. Epub 2012 Sep 21.


Stem cells are defined by the ability to self-renew and to generate differentiated progeny, qualities that are maintained by evolutionarily conserved pathways that can lead to cancer when deregulated. There is now evidence that these stem cell-like attributes and signalling pathways are also shared among subsets of mature memory T lymphocytes. We discuss how using stem cell-like T cells can overcome the limitations of current adoptive T cell therapies, including inefficient T cell engraftment, persistence and ability to mediate prolonged immune attack. Conferring stemness to antitumour T cells might unleash the full potential of cellular therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / transplantation