Inducing and Inhibiting T Cell Tolerance with A2a Receptor Agonists and Antagonists

T cells play a critical role in fighting disease and infection. However, when T cells recognize and attack normal or non-infected cells, autoimmunity ensues. A contrasting, but similarly detrimental situation is T cell tolerance, the state of antigen-specific unresponsiveness in the absence of immune system failure. In this instance, T cells become tolerant to infected or cancerous cells and recognize rather than kill them. If the gene/s responsible to T-cell tolerance could be determined, then agonists or antagonists to the gene product could be developed to treat both immune system dysfunctions. Now, research by scientists at Johns Hopkins University has uncovered that adenosine A2a receptor (A2aR) is the protein responsible for inhibiting T cell function and promoting T cell tolerance. It is hoped that agonists can be developed as tolerance-inducing agents in autoimmune disease treatment, while the antagonists would be developed as tolerance-suppression agents in cancer and infectious disease therapies. Description (Set) Proposed Use (Set) The pharmaceutical markets for autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, in addition to cancer and common infectious diseases, earn blockbuster revenues. This novel gene is an exciting therapeutic target as it can be utilized for both developments of tolerance-inducing agents and tolerance-inhibiting agents for the treatment of autoimmune disease and cancer, respectively.

Inventor(s): Powell, Jonathan

Type of Offer: Licensing

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