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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2015;19(8):1091-103. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2015.1037282. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

The therapeutic potential of regulatory T cells for the treatment of autoimmune disease.

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University of California San Francisco, Diabetes Center , San Francisco, CA 94143 , USA +1 415 476 4451 ; jeff,



Immune tolerance remains the holy grail of therapeutic immunology in the fields of organ and tissue transplant rejection, autoimmune diseases, and allergy and asthma. We have learned that FoxP3(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells play a vital role in both the induction and maintenance of self-tolerance.


In this opinion piece, we highlight regulatory T cells (Treg) cell biology and novel immune treatments to take advantage of these cells as potent therapeutics. We discuss the potential to utilize Treg and Treg-friendly therapies to replace current general immunosuppressives and induce tolerance as a path towards a drug-free existence without associated toxicities.


Finally, we opine on the fact that biomedicine sits on the cusp of a new revolution: the use of human cells as versatile therapeutic engines. We highlight the challenges and opportunities associated with the development of a foundational cellular engineering science that provides a systematic framework for safely and predictably regulating cellular behaviors. Although Treg therapy has become a legitimate clinical treatment, development of the therapy will require a better understanding of the underlying Treg biology, manufacturing advances to promote cost effectiveness and combinations with other drugs to alter the pathogenicity/regulatory balance.


autoimmunity; cell therapy; organ transplantation; peripheral tolerance; regulatory T cells; suppressor cells

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