T-cells with Enhanced Ability to Respond to Exogenous Ligands

Novel T-cells expressing the IL-2a receptor to enhance cancer cell targeting.

The Need

As interest in cell-based therapies, particularly for cancer treatment, continues to rise, there’s a critical need for therapeutic cells capable of robust proliferation in vivo. Existing methods relying on exogenous cytokines like IL-2 face challenges due to dose-limiting toxicity and inefficient cellular responses. To enhance therapeutic efficacy, there’s a demand for innovative approaches that empower therapeutic cells to respond effectively to cytokine stimulation without the need for preconditioning treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed modified lymphocytes expressing elevated levels of cytokine receptor genes or cytokine receptor subunit genes, such as IL-2α. By enhancing the responsiveness of these cells to exogenous cytokines like IL-2, they exhibit improved proliferative capability and effector functions, such as tumor cell killing. This approach allows for the genetic modification of lymphocytes in vivo, offering a versatile and targeted method for enhancing therapeutic efficacy.

Commercial Applications

  • Cancer therapy: Genetically modified tumor-reactive T-cells with enhanced responsiveness to IL-2-based therapy offer promising avenues for cancer treatment.
  • Autoimmune disease treatment: Modifying T regulatory cells with cytokine receptor genes, such as IL-2Ra, provides a potential strategy for treating autoimmune diseases by improving responsiveness to IL-2 therapy.
  • Cell-based immunotherapy: Enhancing the proliferative capability and effector functions of adoptively transferred lymphocytes opens new possibilities for effective immunotherapy across various disease conditions.


  • Enhanced Therapeutic Efficacy: Genetically modified cells exhibit improved responsiveness to cytokine stimulation, leading to enhanced proliferation and effector functions
  • Reduced Need for Preconditioning: By eliminating the need for preconditioning treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, this approach streamlines the administration of adoptive cellular therapy.
  • In vivo Genetic Modification: The ability to genetically modify lymphocytes in vivo offers a convenient and targeted approach for enhancing therapeutic cells’ responsiveness to cytokine therapy.
  • Improved Patient Outcomes: By enabling therapeutic cells to respond more effectively to cytokine stimulation, this approach holds promise for improving patient outcomes in cell-based therapies.

Issued US Patents

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