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Immunotherapy for cancer has been a focus 50 years ago. At the time, this treatment was developed prior to cloning of the cytokines, no knowledge of regulatory T-cells, and very little information that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) (originally colony forming unit-fibroblasts [CFU-F]) could be licensed by the inflammatory microenvironment to suppress an immune response. Given the information available at that time, mononuclear cells from the peripheral blood were activated ex vivo and then replaced in the patients with tumor. The intent was to harness these activated immune cells to target the cancer cells. These studies did not lead to long-term responses because the activated cells when reinfused into the patients were an advantage to the resident MSCs, which can home the tumor and then become suppressive in the presence of the immune cells. The immune suppression caused by MSCs would also expand regulatory T-cells, resulting instead in tumor protection. As time progressed, these different fields converged into a new approach to use immunotherapy for cancer. This article discusses these approaches and also reviews chimeric antigen receptor in the context of future treatments for solid tumors, including breast cancer.
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