Building with intent: Technologies and principles for engineering mammalian cell-based therapies to sense and respond

Joseph J. Muldoon, Patrick S. Donahue, Taylor B. Dolberg, Joshua N. Leonard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


The engineering of cells as programmable devices has enabled therapeutic strategies that could not otherwise be achieved. Such strategies include recapitulating and enhancing native cellular functions and composing novel functions. These novel functions may be composed using both natural and engineered biological components, with the latter exemplified by the development of synthetic receptor and signal transduction systems. Recent advances in implementing these approaches include the treatment of cancer, where the most clinical progress has been made to date, and the treatment of diabetes. Principles for engineering cell-based therapies that are safe and effective are increasingly needed and beginning to emerge, and will be essential in the development of this new class of therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biomedical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 2017



  • Cell-based device
  • Immunotherapy
  • Intercellular variation
  • Robustness
  • Synthetic biology
  • Synthetic receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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