Developing cell therapies as drug products

Rachele Ciccocioppo, Patrizia Comoli, Giuseppe Astori, Francesca del Bufalo, Malvina Prapa, Massimo Dominici, Franco Locatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the last 20 years, the global regulatory frameworks for drug assessment have been managing the challenges posed by using cellular products as new therapeutic tools. Currently, they are defined as “Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products”, comprising a large group of cellular types that either alone or in combination with gene and tissue engineering technology. They have the potential to change the natural course of still lethal or highly debilitating diseases, including cancers, opportunistic infections and chronic inflammatory conditions. Globally, more than 50 cell-based products have obtained market authorization. This overview describes the advantages and unsolved challenges on developing cells as innovative therapeutic vehicles. The main cell therapy players and the legal framework are discussed, starting from chimeric antigen receptor T-cells for leukaemia and solid tumours, dealing then with lymphocytes as potent anti-microbiological tools and then focusing on mesenchymal stem/stromal cells whose role covers regenerative medicine, immunology and anti-tumour therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-279
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • chronic inflammatory diseases
  • clinical trials
  • haematological malignancies
  • immune tolerance
  • mesenchymal stem/stromal cells
  • opportunistic infections
  • solid tumours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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