How are biologics being used in adoptive cell therapy (ACT)?

Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) refers to the transfer and transplantation of cells into an individual in order to combat pathology. The cells used are autologous for pre-clinical and clinical research purposes (especially when human cells are involved), but can be allogenic in basic and translational studies. Cells used in ACT are biologics themselves, but can also manipulated in various ways after extraction and prior to transfer – sometimes by using other biologics. For example, cells can be subjected to clonal selection for a desired attribute (i.e., paracrine activity or cytotoxicity), with the selected clones then expanded, yielding a more efficacious cell population for re-introduction. Cells can also be modified genetically to express certain receptors or promote certain phenotypes.1 The existence of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells are a prime example of how gene editing leads to novel and effective ACT approaches. For basic or translational studies investigating potential ACT candidates, cells can be transfected/transduced with genes encoding tags so that they can be tracked and observed post-transfer. 


(1) S.A. Rosenberg et al., “Adoptive cell transfer: a clinical path to effective cancer immunotherapy,” Nat Rev Cancer, 8(4):299-308, 2008.