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Press Release

ToolGen, Inc. Demonstrates Potential of CRISPR/cas9 Gene Editing to Overcome T-Cell Immunosuppression

Posted on: 11 Dec 17

Potential Therapeutic Strategy to Target Tumors that Evade T-Cell Immune Response

Data Presented at the 59th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ToolGen, Inc. (KONEX, 199800), a biotechnology company specializing in genome editing, today announced data demonstrating that the Company’s CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing platform can target and disrupt cellular pathways that suppress T-Cell immune responses. The study was presented in a poster presentation at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting held December 9-12, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The poster, entitled CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Diacylglycerol Kinase Knockout Potentiates Anti-Tumor Efficacy of Human Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cells (Abst. #3182), examined a potential therapeutic strategy to target tumors that have evaded immune surveillance by deactivating T-cells using various immunosuppressive ligands and soluble factors. In this study, researchers employed Toolgen’s CRISPR/Cas9 technology to disrupt the gene for diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) in human T-cells. DGK is an enzyme that phosphorylates diacylglycerol, an essential signal transduction molecule for T cell signaling. The DGK gene is highly expressed in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and is responsible for inhibiting downstream signaling of T-cell receptors. Disruption of DGK resulted in an increase in T-cell function as well as enhanced resistance against immunosuppressive soluble factors such as TGF-β and PGE2. DGK-disrupted T-cells.

“Despite extensive research, therapeutic outcomes using T-cell therapies have proved inefficient and challenging due to various immunosuppressive signals from tumors,” said Jungmin Lee, research director at Toolgen. “However, in many tumors, DGK is found to be highly expressed in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, which has the potential to unlock new avenues for therapies. The results from this study both further validate our CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology and may lead to new approaches that improve the efficacy of T-cell therapies in combination with existing checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1 or PD-L1 antibodies. We believe that more clinical research in this area is necessary to establish proof of concept data. This study is another stepping stone for us as we seek to translate our genetic knowledge into transformative products for serious human diseases, and look forward to further contributing to those goals.”

About ToolGen, Inc.

ToolGen, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development and application of genome editing technologies. It creates and holds intellectual property rights for essential tools and technologies for editing the genetic information in microbial, plant, animal, and human cells. ToolGen’s mission is to translate the potential of its innovative platform technology into transformative products for biomedicine and agriculture. For more information, please visit


Company – Seokjoong Kim +82-2-873-8168
Media – Kirsten Thomas (508) 280-6592
Investors – Tram Bui (646) 536-7035 & Robert Flamm (646) 536-7017


Last updated on: 11/12/2017

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