Adoptive T cell transfer for cancer, chronic infection, and autoimmunity is an emerging field that shows promise in recent trials. Using the principles of synthetic biology, advances in cell culture and genetic engineering have made it possible to generate human T cells that display desired specificities and enhanced functionalities compared with the natural immune system. The prospects for widespread availability of engineered T cells have changed dramatically, given the recent entry of the pharmaceutical industry to this arena. Here, we discuss some of the challenges--such as regulatory, cost, and manufacturing--and opportunities, including personalized gene-modified T cells, that face the field of adoptive cellular therapy.
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