Xingxing Zang

Regulating Human Immune Response­­  Dr. Xingxing Zang, Dr. Matthew Scharff,  and colleagues published a study in the June 11, 2013 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, describing a new pathway that inhibits human T cell functions. T cells are key part of the immune system and the discovery may aid the development of new therapies for treating cancer, autoimmune disorders, infection and transplant rejection; it also may aid the design of better vaccines. The researchers identified a protein, HHLA2, as the newest  member of the B7 family of proteins; B7 proteins bind to receptors on the surface of T cells and either inhibit or activate the T cell response. The researchers demonstrated that exposing human T cells to HHLA2 inhibited proliferation and protein production, suggesting that this pathway may be a potent regulator of human immune responses. Dr. Zang is associate professor of microbiology & immunology, and Dr. Scharff is distinguished professor of cell biology.  Einstein has filed for patent protection on this technology. It's available for licensing.