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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 121-129
Review Article

TCR-Engineered, Customized, Antitumor T Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy: Advantages and Limitations

Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, USA

Received 28 August 2010; Revised 28 November 2010; Accepted 2 December 2010

Academic Editor: Marc Lippman

Copyright © 2011 Arvind Chhabra.


The clinical outcome of the traditional adoptive cancer immunotherapy approaches involving the administration of donor-derived immune effectors, expanded ex vivo, has not met expectations. This could be attributed, in part, to the lack of sufficient high-avidity antitumor T-cell precursors in most cancer patients, poor immunogenicity of cancer cells, and the technological limitations to generate a sufficiently large number of tumor antigen-specific T cells. In addition, the host immune regulatory mechanisms and immune homeostasis mechanisms, such as activation-induced cell death (AICD), could further limit the clinical efficacy of the adoptively administered antitumor T cells. Since generation of a sufficiently large number of potent antitumor immune effectors for adoptive administration is critical for the clinical success of this approach, recent advances towards generating customized donor-specific antitumor-effector T cells by engrafting human peripheral blood-derived T cells with a tumor-associated antigen-specific transgenic T-cell receptor (TCR) are quite interesting. This manuscript provides a brief overview of the TCR engineering-based cancer immunotherapy approach, its advantages, and the current limitations.