Engineered cell-based therapies: A vanguard of design-driven medicine

Rachel M. Dudek, Yishan Chuang, Joshua N. Leonard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Engineered cell-based therapies are uniquely capable of performing sophisticated therapeutic functions in vivo, and this strategy is yielding promising clinical benefits for treating cancer. In this review, we discuss key opportunities and challenges for engineering customized cellular functions using cell-based therapy for cancer as a representative case study. We examine the historical development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapies as an illustration of the engineering design cycle.We also consider the potential roles that the complementary disciplines of systems biology and synthetic biology may play in realizing safe and effective treatments for a broad range of patients and diseases. In particular, we discuss how systems biology may facilitate both fundamental research and clinical translation, and we describe how the emerging field of synthetic biology is providing novel modalities for building customized cellular functions to overcome existing clinical barriers. Together, these approaches provide a powerful set of conceptual and experimental tools for transforming information into understanding, and for translating understanding into novel therapeutics to establish a newframework for design-driven medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-391
Number of pages23
JournalAdvances in experimental medicine and biology
StatePublished - 2014


  • CAR
  • Cancer
  • Computational biology
  • Genetic engineering
  • Immunotherapy
  • Synthetic biology
  • Systems biology
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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