Dendritic cells with tolerogenic function (tolDC) have become a promising immunotherapeutic tool for reinstating immune tolerance in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. The concept underpinning tolDC therapy is that it specifically targets the pathogenic autoimmune response while leaving protective immunity intact. Findings from human in-vitro and mouse in-vivo studies have been translated into the development of clinical grade tolDC for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. Recently, two tolDC trials in RA and type I diabetes have been carried out and other trials are in progress or are imminent. In this review, we provide an update on tolDC therapy, in particular in relation to the treatment of RA, and discuss the challenges and the future perspectives of this new experimental immunotherapy.
© 2012 British Society for Immunology.