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Purpose of review: This review presents a clinically focussed introduction to cell-based immunotherapy in solid organ transplantation. The potential benefits and risks of cell-based immunotherapeutics are critically discussed.

Recent findings: The use of immunoregulatory cells as medicinal agents is very much in its infancy, but the field is expanding rapidly. In principle, this approach permits manipulation of specific immunological functions, opening new possibilities in the field of tolerance-promoting therapies. Several immunoregulatory cell types have reached the point of preclinical and clinical development that should allow them to be tested in early-phase clinical trials. Solid organ transplantation represents an important potential indication for the use of cell-based immunosuppressive agents because promoting immunological regulation towards allografts remains a promising strategy for preventing chronic rejection.

Summary: Remarkable progress is being made in the implementation of novel cell-based immunotherapeutics in solid organ transplantation studies. It is hoped that these new immunoregulatory therapies will afford better long-term transplant outcomes by mitigating chronic graft injury.

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