CD137 is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family. Its alternative names are tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 (TNFRSF9), 4-1BB and induced by lymphocyte activation (ILA). It is currently of interest to immunologists as a co-stimulatory immune checkpoint molecule.
CD137 can be expressed by activated T cells, but to a larger extent on CD8 than on CD4T cells. In addition, CD137 expression is found on dendritic cells, follicular dendritic cells, natural killer cells, granulocytes and cells of blood vessel walls at sites of inflammation.
The best characterized activity of CD137 is its costimulatory activity for activated T cells. Crosslinking of CD137 enhances T cell proliferation, IL-2 secretion, survival and cytolytic activity. Further, it can enhance immune activity to eliminate tumors in mice.
Utomilumab (PF-05082566) targets this receptor to stimulate a more intense immune system attack on cancers. It is a fully human IgG2 monoclonal antibody. It is in early clinical trials. As of June 2016[update] 5 clinical trials are active.
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