Our increased understanding of how regulatory T cells suppress immune responses has led to their use in early-phase clinical trials for inflammatory disorders, with promising results. This Review describes the key advances and prospects in designing and implementing regulatory T cells as multifaceted, adaptable smart therapeutics in autoimmunity and transplantation.
Nature Collection on Cell Therapy
Cell therapy is becoming established as a modality that has the potential to substantially improve the treatment of a wide range of diseases. This collection features reviews on cell -based therapies for cancer, autoimmune disorders and inherited blood diseases, highlighting the technological advances such as CRISPR-based gene editing and improved viral vectors that have provided the basis for recent regulatory approvals and the rapid expansion of the cell therapy pipeline.
One review focuses on how regulatory T cells — a subset of immune cells that curb excessive immune activation and maintain immune homeostasis — are being engineered to treat autoimmune disorders. Another review covers engineered γδT cells, which are being explored as cancer therapies based on their potential to kill a wide range of haematological and solid tumours while preserving normal tissues. The collection is completed by a review describing how genetic engineering of haematopoietic stem cells is emerging as a promising alternative to allogeneic transplantation in the treatment of inherited blood diseases.
γδT cells display potent cytotoxicity towards a large array of haematological and solid tumours while preserving normal tissues. In this Review, Sebestyen et al. analyse the tumour specificity mechanisms of γδT cells and the challenges and opportunities for the use of such cells and their receptors in cancer immunotherapy.
Advances in the design of vectors based on retroviruses, such as lentiviruses and gammaretroviruses, have led to improvements in the safety and stability of gene therapies directed at haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In this Review, Cavazzana and colleagues discuss the results from recent clinical trials of retroviral vectors for the treatment of genetic disorders, including severe combined immunodeficiencies and β-haemoglobinopathies (β-thalassaemia and sickle cell disease). They highlight the progress made and the remaining challenges in applying gene therapies more broadly.