Harnessing regulatory T cells for clinical use in transplantation: the end of the beginning

Am J Transplant. 2014 Apr;14(4):750-63. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12647. Epub 2014 Mar 4.


Owing to the adverse effects of immunosuppression and an inability to prevent chronic rejection, there is a pressing need for alternative strategies to control alloimmunity. In three decades, regulatory T cells (Tregs) have evolved from a hypothetical mediator of adoptively transferred tolerance to a well-defined population that can be expanded ex vivo and returned safely to patients in clinical trials. Herein, we review the historical developments that have permitted these advances and the current status of clinical trials examining Tregs as a cellular therapy in transplantation. We conclude by discussing the critical unanswered questions that face this field in the coming years.

Keywords: Allograft tolerance; cellular therapy; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; regulatory T cells; solid organ transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Prognosis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Transplantation Tolerance / immunology*