Adoptive Immunotherapy Against Metabolic and Cancer Diseases

The University of Hong Kong Background

There are few anti-obesity drugs available in the market. Many conventional anti-obesity drugs have been withdrawn from the market as they are often associated with life-threatening side effects. The global market size for obesity treatments are expected to reach around $15.6 billion by 2024.
The global metabolic disorder therapeutics market size was valued at USD 49.65 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.56% from 2019-2025. It is estimated that more than half a billion individuals are to be affected by obesity and diabetes by 2040.
The global cancer therapeutics market size is projected to reach $180,193 million by 2026.

Technology Overview
Regulatory T cells (Treg) are indispensable for immune homeostasis and have great potential for therapeutic applications. However, Treg are highly heterogeneous. HKU researchers have discovered a population of thymic Treg that express adiponectin, a well‐known insulin‐sensitizing, anti‐diabetic, anti‐inflammatory, anti‐atherogenic and anti‐tumorigenic hormone.

Journal publication: Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 16;4(1):344. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01877-w

Stage of Development

Adiponectin expressing Treg has been tested in mice for its safety and efficacy.


Significantly reduce weight gain and prevent inflammation, while not causing damaging effects to the liver.
Shows anticancer activity.
Facilitate the selection of T-cells within the thymic nurse cell complex for effective immune response.
Eligible for various administration method (parental, rectal, topical, transdermal and oral).


Treatment for obesity and obesity-induced metabolic diseases
Anti-cancer therapy
Immunomodulation therapy

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