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Overexpression of Phf19 on T Cells Enhances Therapeutic Effects of T Cell-Based Therapies (such as Chimeric Antigen Receptor [CAR] Therapies)

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Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have developed a method to epigenetically reprogram CD8+ T cell fate by expressing elevated levels of the polycomb-like protein, Phf19. This technology is useful for improving T cell-based immunotherapies (such as CAR therapies) to treat a range of infectious diseases and cancers. NCI seeks licensing or co-development partners for this invention.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • Chimeric Antigen Receptor, CAR-T Therapy, CD8, T Cell, Phf19, Gattinoni
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

T cell-based immunotherapy (such as CAR therapies) is a promising approach for the treatment of several cancers. However, T cells currently employed for various T cell-based immunotherapies are usually senescent and terminally differentiated leading to poor proliferative and survival capacity, limiting their therapeutic effectiveness once transferred into a patient’s blood. 

Researchers in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch (ETIB) have epigenetically reprogrammed CD8+ T cell fate by overexpressing Phf19. The inventors found that overexpression of Phf19 in tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells limits T cell terminal differentiation and exhaustion. In addition, it was found that Phf19 overexpressing T cells exhibit enhanced proliferation and cytokine production, resulting in augmented anti-tumor activity in vivo. This technology is available for licensing and/or co-development.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Treating cancer patients receiving T cell-based immunotherapy 
Competitive Advantages
  • T cells overexpressing Phf19 can increase therapeutic effectiveness of adoptive immunotherapy because it improves T cell proliferation increasing the number of T cells that can be used for T cell-based immunotherapies
  • T cells, overexpressing Phf19 used for immunotherapy in preclinical in vivo studies, are already known to induce a greater decrease in tumor size compared to mice treated with T cell-based immunotherapies using unmodified T cells

Yun Ji (NCI), Luca Gattinoni (NCI)

Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 62/515,105 , Filed 05 Jun 2017
Therapeutic Area
Thursday, June 10, 2021