The transfusion of T cells, also called adoptive T cell therapy, is an effective treatment for viral infections and has induced regression of cancer in early-stage clinical trials. However, recent advances in cellular immunology and tumor biology are guiding new approaches to adoptive T cell therapy. For example, use of engineered T cells is being tested as a strategy to improve the functions of effector and memory T cells, and manipulation of the host to overcome immunotoxic effects in the tumor microenvironment has led to promising results in early-stage clinical trials. Challenges that face the field and must be addressed before adoptive T cell therapy can be translated into routine clinical practice are discussed.
Carl H. June