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New directions in cellular therapy of cancer: a summary of the summit on cellular therapy for cancer

David F Stroncek1*, Carolina Berger2, Martin A Cheever3, Richard W Childs4, Mark E Dudley5, Peter Flynn6, Luca Gattinoni5, James R Heath7, Michael Kalos8, Francesco M Marincola19, Jeffrey S Miller10, Gustavo Mostoslavsky11, Daniel J Powell8, Mahendra Rao12, Nicholas P Restifo5, Steven A Rosenberg5, John O'Shea13 and Cornelis JM Melief14

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Transfusion Medicine, Clinical Center, NIH, Bethesda, USA

2 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA

3 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), Seattle, USA

4 National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA

5 Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA

6 Fate Therapeutics, Inc,, San Diego, USA

7 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA

8 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

9 Center for Human Immunology, NIH, Bethesda, USA

10 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

11 Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA

12 Center for Regenerative Medicine, NIH, Bethesda, USA

13 National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Bethesda, USA

14 Leiden University Medical Center and Immune System Activation, Leiden, The Netherlands

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2012, 10:48  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-48

Published: 15 March 2012


A summit on cellular therapy for cancer discussed and presented advances related to the use of adoptive cellular therapy for melanoma and other cancers. The summit revealed that this field is advancing rapidly. Conventional cellular therapies, such as tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), are becoming more effective and more available. Gene therapy is becoming an important tool in adoptive cell therapy. Lymphocytes are being engineered to express high affinity T cell receptors (TCRs), chimeric antibody-T cell receptors (CARs) and cytokines. T cell subsets with more naïve and stem cell-like characteristics have been shown in pre-clinical models to be more effective than unselected populations and it is now possible to reprogram T cells and to produce T cells with stem cell characteristics. In the future, combinations of adoptive transfer of T cells and specific vaccination against the cognate antigen can be envisaged to further enhance the effectiveness of these therapies.