9 pathway-specific screening assays in Immunotherapy

The immune system is a system of cells and organs whose function is to defend an organism from foreign pathogens. With the ability to mount a response against virtually any foreign material and return to a quiescent state following neutralization of the threat, this fascinating organ system displays remarkable specificity and plasticity. To achieve this, there is a multifaceted balancing act between the many activators and suppressors which maintains homeostasis of the body’s perhaps most complex organ system.

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Immunotherapy Screening – CD137:CD137L pathway

In previous blogs, I invited you to read about the relevance of the B7-1 : CD28, B7-1 : CTLA4, the BLTA:HVEM, CD47:SIRPα , the GITR:GITRL, the CD40:CD40L and the  PD-1/PD-L1/PD-L2 pathway for immunotherapy screenings and discussed the products available to work on these pathways. Today, I will focus on the CD137:CD137L pathway.

CD137 is another co-stimulatory protein that is expressed on activated T cells. Unlike CD40:CD40L signaling, which primarily involves helper T-cells, CD137 has a crucial role in the development of cytotoxic T-cells and anti-tumor immunity. Its ligand, CD137L, is mainly expressed on antigen-presenting cells, such as activated B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells, as well as on human tumor cells.

Co-stimulation through CD137:CD137L enhances T-cell activation, promotes the rejection of cardiac allografts and skin transplants, and eradicates experimentally induced tumors in animal models. Several clinical studies are on-going that use agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies to induce an anti-cancer response to solid tumors. [Read more…]