Activation of T cells is necessary for efficient retroviral-mediated gene transfer. In addition, if the population of infused cells is to be limited to transduced cells, a means of positive selection is required. We describe a clinical scale procedure for activation of donor T cells with anti-CD3/CD28 beads followed by transduction with a retroviral construct expressing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) and human nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR). Optimization of transduction parameters was performed, testing the timing of transduction, centrifugation, and the use of serum. In large-scale experiments, 3-5 × 108 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were activated with anti-CD3/CD28 beads and expanded to day 13. Transduction was accomplished using MFG-TKiNG supernatant produced from the PG13 packaging line 48 hr after T-cell activation. The mean transduction frequency was 37.5% based on NGFR expression, and the mean expansion observed was 42.6-fold (mean final cell number 1.85 × 1010). A comparison of the ability of the Baxter Isolex 300i and the Miltenyi CliniMACS to perform purification of NGFR+ cells suggests that greater purity can be achieved with the CliniMACS device (67.4% vs. 97.7%), while the yield of transduced cells appears higher with the Isolex 300i (41.3% vs. 23.5%). We conclude that a strategy based on activation of human T cells with anti-CD3/CD28 beads can result in sufficient transduction, expansion, and purification based on NGFR expression for clinical trials.