Improvements to T cell culture systems that promote long-term engraftment and function of adoptively transferred T cells will likely result in superior clinical benefit to more individuals. To this end, we recently developed a chemically defined cell culture medium that robustly expands all T cell subsets in the absence of human serum. Using a humanized mouse model, we observed that T cells expanded in the absence of human serum provided durable control of tumors, whereas T cells expanded in medium supplemented with human serum only mediated transient control of tumor growth. Importantly, our new medium effectively expanded more differentiated T cells from multiple myeloma patients in the absence of serum. These patient-derived T cells were also able to provide durable control of B cell tumors in vivo, and this long-term control of cancer was lost when T cells were expanded in the presence of serum. Thus, engineered T cells expanded in an optimized medium in the absence of serum may have improved therapeutic potential.