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This article is the author’s final published version in Cancer Biology and Therapy, Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2022, Pages 127 - 133.

The published version is available at Copyright © Staudt, Carlson, and Snook.


The immune system is capable of remarkably potent and specific efficacy against infectious diseases. For decades, investigators sought to leverage those characteristics to create immune-based therapies (immunotherapy) that might be far more effective and less toxic than conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Those studies revealed many factors and mechanisms underlying the success or failure of cancer immunotherapy, leading to synthetic biology approaches, including CAR-T cell therapy. In this approach, patient T cells are genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that converts T cells of any specificity into tumor-specific T cells that can be expanded to large numbers and readministered to the patient to eliminate cancer cells, including bulky metastatic disease. This approach has been most successful against hematologic cancers, resulting in five FDA approvals to date. Here, we discuss some of the most promising attempts to apply this technology to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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