T lymphocyte and other cell therapies have the potential to transform how we treat cancers and other diseases that have few therapeutic options. Here, we review the current progress in engineered T cell therapies and look to the future of what will establish cell therapy as the next pillar of medicine. The tools of synthetic biology along with fundamental knowledge in cell biology and immunology have enabled the development of approaches to engineer cells with enhanced capacity to recognize and treat disease safely and effectively. This along with new modes of engineering cells with CRISPR and strategies to make universal 'off-the-shelf' cell therapies will provide more rapid, flexible, and cheaper translation to the clinic.
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