Accumulating clinical evidence suggests that adoptive T-cell immunotherapy could be a promising option for control of cancer; evident examples include the graft-vs
-leukemia effect mediated by donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) and therapeutic infusion of ex vivo-
expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) for melanoma. Currently, along with advances in synthetic immunology, gene-modified T cells retargeted to defined tumor antigens have been introduced as “cellular drugs”. As the functional properties of the adoptive immune response mediated by T lymphocytes are decisively regulated by their T-cell receptors (TCRs), transfer of genes encoding target antigen-specific receptors should enable polyclonal T cells to be uniformly redirected toward cancer cells. Clinically, anticancer adoptive immunotherapy using genetically engineered T cells has an impressive track record. Notable examples include the dramatic benefit of chimeric antigen receptor
) gene-modified T cells redirected towards CD19 in patients with B-cell malignancy, and the encouraging results obtained with TCR
gene-modified T cells redirected towards NY-ESO-1, a cancer-testis antigen, in patients with advanced melanoma and synovial cell sarcoma. This article overviews the current status of this treatment option, and discusses challenging issues that still restrain the full effectiveness of this strategy, especially in the context of hematological malignancy.
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