T-Cell Receptors Targeting Epstein Barr Virus Latent Membrane Protein 2 for Treatment of Lymphomas and Epithelial Cancer

Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) is one of the most common human viruses in the world and often leads to persistent latent EBV infection. EBV-related cancers have the common feature of harboring latent EBV within the cancer cells, and include cancer such as lymphomas (Hodgkin lymphoma, T/NK cell lymphoma, and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders) and certain incurable epithelial cancers (nasopharyngeal cancer and gastric cancer). In such cases, the EBV Latent Membrane Protein 2 (EBV-LMP2), a transmembrane protein, is highly expressed by cancer cells and not in life-essential tissues, making EBV-LMP2 an attractive target for cancer therapeutics.

Investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have developed novel T-cell Receptors (TCRs) that target EBV-LMP2 for the treatment of EBV-LMP2-positive lymphomas and solid tumors. These novel TCRs recognize and target EBV-LMP2 and induce cell cytolysis of cancer cells in vitro. Importantly, these TCRs have a high specificity in targeting the EBV-LMP2 antigen without negative cross-reactivity to other human peptides. These TCRs have also shown potent targeting and cytolytic activity in various tumor cell models, strongly supporting that these candidates may be further developed as therapeutics.

NCI’s Experimental Transplantation and Immunotherapy Branch is seeking parties interested in licensing of this technology for commercialization in the field of cancer therapeutics.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Therapeutic use against a number of cancers including, but not limited to, epithelial cancers (e.g., nasopharyngeal and gastric cancer), lymphomas, and solid tumors
  • Novel TCRs can recognize naturally processed and presented EBV-LMP2 antigens on cell surfaces
  • Thousands of cancer patients each year with otherwise untreatable disease may be eligible for gene therapy with these TCRs
  • High degree of specificity for LMP2 expressed on cells and low-to-no cross-reactivity with human peptides resulting in less non-specific cell killing and lower potential side-effects
  • EBV-LMP2 targeting TCRs are available for immediate testing

Development Stage:
Pre-clinical (in vivo)


Christian Hinrichs (NCI)  ➽ more inventions...

Xiang Liu (NCI)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
Application No. 63/008,949

Collaboration Opportunity:

Licensing only

Licensing Contact:
John Hewes, Ph.D.
Email: John.Hewes@nih.gov
Phone: 240-276-5515

OTT Reference No: E-121-2020
Updated: Mar 23, 2021