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An Engineered Cytokine Receptor for Enhanced CAR T cells

A chimeric cytokine receptor to augment CAR T-cell function

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Technology overview

Sustained activation of CAR T cells requires the presence of immune stimulatory cytokines. The suppressive microenvironment in solid tumorslacks soluble cytokines. While systemic administration of stimulatory cytokines can be beneficial for CAR T cell function, this has led to toxicities in clinical trials and is therefore not therapeutically viable. To confer the benefits of cytokine supplementation to CAR T cell therapy without incurring systemic toxicity, Dr. Michael Jensen and colleagues have developed an engineered cytokine receptor called CCRIL21. T cells expressing CCRIL21 recapitulated the effects of IL-21 expression in vitro in the absence of soluble IL-21. These T cells demonstrated prolonged survival and proliferation. CAR T cells expressing CCRIL21 had improved therapeutic efficacy in a mouse model of glioblastoma. CCRIL21 provides ligand independent cytokine stimulation to CAR T cells and improves CAR T cell function in solid tumors.


  • Adjuvant for CAR T cell therapy
  • CAR T cell therapy for solid tumors


  • Ligand independent cytokine stimulation
  • Regulatable receptor expression

Market overview

Global CAR T cell therapy market was valued at USD 467 million in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 2.9 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 44.1%. Solid tumors account for more than 80% of cancers. About 1.7 million new cancer cases are estimated in 2019. There are over 20 active clinical trials investigating CAR T cell therapy in solid tumors. There are no approved solid tumor targeting CAR T cell therapies in the market.


Non-exclusive license

Technology type

Cell therapy Therapeutic

Technology status

Preclinical in vivo

Patent status

Patent pending


Michael Jensen, MD
Christopher Saxby

Learn more

To learn more about this technology, please email Kamya Rajaram.

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