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Editorial

Published:September 26, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcyt.2016.09.004
      Current cell-based therapies are almost completely unrecognizable from their origins half a century ago in autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Today's cellular therapies have greater diversity, broader applicability, and more deliberately designed functions [
      • Hyllner J.
      • Mason C.
      • Wilmut I.
      Cells: from Robert Hooke to cell therapy—a 350 year journey.
      ,
      • Mason C.
      • Brindley D.A.
      • Culme-Seymour E.J.
      • Davie N.L.
      Cell therapy industry: billion dollar global business with unlimited potential.
      ]. In over 50 years, an ever increasing variety of cells has been used in therapy, ranging from different T-cell subsets, NK cells, dendritic cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, to induced pluripotent cells most recently. The cellular therapies have been used in an even wider variety of disorders and clinical settings beyond the original context of leukemia immune deficiency and marrow failure, with more than 2,700 clinical trials for cell therapies in the last decade alone [
      • Culme-Seymour E.J.
      • Davie N.L.
      • Brindley D.A.
      • Edwards-Parton S.
      • Mason C.
      A decade of cell therapy clinical trials (2000–2010).
      ]. Importantly, a more precise control of their behavior has been provided by gene insertion to modify the function of therapeutic cells. Ever-improving tools of genetic engineering have been used to confer properties like redirected function, improved survival, and better safety profiles. Gene modified cell therapies are enormously complex and challenging to implement, but the rewards of harnessing their powerful therapeutic effects have paved the way for increased participation from both academic and commercial institutions.
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