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Discov Med. 2016 Aug;22(119):73-80.

Regulatory T cell-based therapies for autoimmunity.

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The Center for Synthetic Immunity and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, One Medical Center Dr., Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


Autoimmune disorders are long-term diseases that adversely affect the quality of life for patients, and they are one of the top ten leading causes of death. While each autoimmune disorder is unique, they all are caused by a breakdown of tolerance against endogenous proteins. This leads to auto-inflammatory events that promote the destruction of organs in a humoral and cellular immune mediated manner. Treatment options for autoimmunity can involve the use of chemical and biologic agents that suppress inflammation. While these treatment options for patients have shown to be beneficial in autoimmunity, they can result in patients being vulnerable to opportunistic infections. Newer therapies aim to identify methods to specifically block auto-inflammatory immune cells while allowing for an intact immune response to other antigens. T regulatory (Treg) cells are a subtype of the adoptive immune cell that is capable of suppressing inflammatory events in an antigen-specific manner, but they are often poorly functioning within autoimmune patients. Treg cells have been well characterized for their immune modulating capabilities and preclinical and early clinical studies support their therapeutic potential for antigen-specific immune suppression. This review will examine the current understanding of Treg cell function and the therapeutic potential of enhancing Treg cells in patients with inflammatory disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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