The Next Frontier of Regulatory T Cells: Promising Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases and Organ Transplantations

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Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial in maintaining tolerance. Hence, Treg immunotherapy is an attractive therapeutic option in autoimmune diseases and organ transplantations. Currently, autoimmune diseases do not have a curative treatment and transplant recipients require life-long immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection. There has been significant progress in understanding polyclonal and antigen-specific Treg biology over the last decade. Clinical trials with good manufacturing practice (GMP) Treg cells have demonstrated safety and early efficacy of Treg therapy. GMP Treg cells can also be tracked following infusion. In order to improve efficacy of Tregs immunotherapy, it is necessary that Tregs migrate, survive and function at the specific target tissue. Application of antigen specific Tregs and maintaining cells' suppressive function and survival with low dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) will enhance the efficacy and longevity of infused GMP-grade Tregs. Notably, stability of Tregs in the local tissue can be manipulated by understanding the microenvironment. With the recent advances in GMP-grade Tregs isolation and antigen-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-Tregs development will allow functionally superior cells to migrate to the target organ. Thus, Tregs immunotherapy may be a promising option for patients with autoimmune diseases and organ transplantations in near future.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2020 Terry and Oo.


Original languageEnglish
Article number565518
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2020


  • regulatory T cell, liver transplant, autoimmune liver diseases, antigen specific, recruitment, tolerance, polyclonal