T lymphocytes are critical mediators of the adaptive immune system and have the capacity to serve as therapeutic agents in the areas of transplant and cancer immunotherapy. While T cells can be isolated and expanded from patients, T cells derived in vitro from both hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) and human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offer great potential advantages in generating a self-renewing source of T cells that can be readily genetically modified. T-cell differentiation in vivo is a complex process requiring tightly regulated signals; providing the correct signals in vitro to induce T-cell lineage commitment followed by their development into mature, functional, single positive T cells, is similarly complex. In this review, we discuss current methods for the in vitro derivation of T cells from murine and human HSPCs and hPSCs that use feeder-cell and feeder-cell-free systems. Furthermore, we explore their potential for adoption for use in T-cell-based therapies.
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