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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • chimeric antigen receptor (CAR);
  • clinical trials;
  • genetic engineering;
  • T cell receptor (TCR)

Abstract

T-cell immunotherapy is a promising approach to treat disseminated cancer. However, it has been limited by the ability to isolate and expand T cells restricted to tumour-associated antigens. Using ex vivo gene transfer, T cells from patients can be genetically engineered to express a novel T cell receptor or chimeric antigen receptor to specifically recognize a tumour-associated antigen and thereby selectively kill tumour cells. Indeed, genetically engineered T cells have recently been successfully used for cancer treatment in a small number of patients. Here we review the recent progress in the field, and summarize the challenges that lie ahead and the strategies being used to overcome them.