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Cellular therapies, including those based on T cells, are becoming approved options for clinicians treating a range of diseases. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can be modified ex vivo to express receptors such as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors, allowing them to target tumour cells when infused back into patients with particular cancers. CTLs specific for viruses can be purified ex vivo and reinfused into patients transplanted with haematopoietic stem cells to help combat viral reactivation. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) can be expanded ex vivo for infusion into patients with autoimmunity or allergy, or into those at risk of rejecting transplanted cells or tissues, or suffering graft versus host disease. Effector and regulatory T cells can also be generated by infusion of patient-derived dendritic cells (DCs) conditioned in ways to elicit anti-tumour immunity (CTLs) or Tregs. All such therapies are resource-heavy (particularly in process regulation) and so must be initially targeted to patients that have limited treatment options, but also where they have a chance of being effective.

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CARs, T cells, adoptive therapy, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, regulatory T cells