The idea of using the effector immune cells to specifically fight cancer has recently evolved into an exciting concept of adoptive cell therapies. Indeed, genetically engineered T cells expressing on their surface recombinant, cancer-targeted receptors have been shown to induce promising response in oncological patients. However, in addition to exogenous expression of such receptors, there is also a need for disruption of certain genes in the immune cells to achieve more potent disease-targeted actions, to produce universal chimeric antigen receptor-based therapies or to study the signaling pathways in detail. In this review, we present novel genetic engineering methods, mainly TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 systems, that can be used for such purposes. These unique techniques may contribute to creating more successful immune therapies against cancer or prospectively other diseases as well.
Keywords: Adoptive therapy; CRISPR/Cas9; Cancer; Genome editing; Immunotherapy; TALEN; Viral diseases.