Chemically engineering cells for precision medicine
Cell-based therapy holds great potential to address unmet medical needs and revolutionize the healthcare industry, as demonstrated by several therapeutics such as CAR-T cell therapy and stem cell transplantation that have achieved great success clinically. Nevertheless, natural cells are often restricted by their unsatisfactory in vivo trafficking and lack of therapeutic payloads. Chemical engineering offers a cost-effective, easy-to-implement engineering tool that allows for strengthening the inherent favorable features of cells and confers them new functionalities. Moreover, in accordance with the trend of precision medicine, leveraging chemical engineering tools to tailor cells to accommodate patients individual needs has become important for the development of cell-based treatment modalities. This review presents a comprehensive summary of the currently available chemically engineered tools, introduces their application in advanced diagnosis and precision therapy, and discusses the current challenges and future opportunities.