Peripheral T lymphocytes are a target of choice for many gene therapeutic strategies. Retrovirus-mediated transduction allows genomic integration and long-term expression of transgenes in target cells. Over many years, low transduction efficiency into primary T lymphocytes has limited clinical application of existing protocols. Recently, gene transfer rates > 50% have been achieved facilitating clinical studies. More attention is thus being focused on the ability of gene-modified cells to carry out innate as well as conferred functions in vivo and the influence of culture conditions, retroviral vector and host response thereon.