Prospects for adoptive T-cell therapy for invasive fungal disease

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Purpose of review

Invasive fungal disease (IFD) is a cause of morbidity and mortality in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. As more potent broad-spectrum antifungal agents are used in prophylaxis, drug resistance and less common fungal species have increased in frequency. Here we review current treatments available for IFD and examine the potential for adoptive T-cell treatment to enhance current therapeutic choices in IFD.

Recent findings

There is growing evidence supporting the role of T cells as well as phagocytes in antifungal immunity. T cells recognizing specific antigens expressed on fungal morphotypes have been identified and the role of T-cell transfer has been explored in animal models. The clinical efficacy of adoptive transfer of antigen-specific T cells for prophylaxis and treatment of viral infections post-HSCT has raised interest in developing good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compliant methods for manufacturing and testing fungus-specific T cells after HSCT.


As the outcomes of IFD post-HSCT are poor, reconstitution of antifungal immunity offers a way to correct the underlying deficiency that has caused the infection rather than simply pharmacologically suppress fungal growth. The clinical development of fungus specific T cells is in its early stages and clinical trials are needed in order to evaluate safety and efficacy.

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