Natural killer T cells (NKT cells) are extremely potent 'first responders' to infection. The aggressive nature of NKT cells has also made them attractive targets for immunotherapy -- several clinical trials are in progress. We have recently discovered that the transcription factor, PLZF (promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger) controls the development of NKT cell effector functions. Our published data shows that PLZF is highly expressed in NKT cells both in mouse and man, but not in conventional T cells. We have found that ectopic expression of PLZF can convert conventional T cells into potent, NKT-like T cells. We hypothesize, therefore, that the ectopic expression of PLZF in conventional T cells will dramatically enhance functions that are necessary for anti-tumor immunity, helping to overcome many of the existing hurdles for this mode of therapy. In collaboration with Drs. Jim Allison and Michel Sadelain, we propose to test this hypothesis in mouse and human prostate cancer models.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/10 → 3/31/14|
- Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)