Chimeric Antigen Receptors For Phagocytosis (Car-P)

Tech ID: 29545 / UC Case 2018-207-0

Invention Novelty

UCSF researchers have engineered a chimeric antigen receptor for phagocytosis (CAR-P) that promotes engulfment of cancer cells.

Value Proposition

Approximately 143,000 new cases of leukemia and lymphoma will be diagnosed in the US in 2018, with about 44,000 patients dying from these diseases in this year. Current standards of treatment are chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation, but recently CAR-T therapies that utilize engineered T cells such as Kymriah and Yescarta have become available to treat some rare and persistent forms of leukemia. In addition to being effective in cases where traditional therapies have failed, these CAR-T therapies are promising due to their shorter duration of treatment and long-term efficacy over traditional treatments.

However, since T cells cannot readily penetrate solid tumors, these CAR-T therapies are unlikely to be effective in some forms of lymphoma. Macrophages however readily interact with the tumor microenvironment of solid tumors. CAR-P therapies therefore could help bypass this hurdle and provide additional treatment options that can work either alone or with existing treatments to improve patient survival.


  • Utilizes a synthetic receptor to direct innate immune system to attack cancer through phagocytosis
  • Macrophages can more effectively interact within the tumor microenvironment of solid lymphomas than T cells.
  • Cross presentation in macrophages and dendritic cells can increase the number of cancer antigen specific T cells rather than the single predefined antigen in traditional CAR-T therapies.
  • Co-culture of CAR-P macrophages and cancer cells drives a significant reduction in the number of cancer cells

Technology Description

Chimeric Antigen Receptors for Phagocytosis (CAR-P) consist of an extracellular antibody fragment specific against cancer antigens, a plasma membrane signal peptide and transmembrane domain, and the cytoplasmic domains of an engulfment receptor.

When expressed in macrophages, the extracellular antibody fragment recognizes and binds to specific cancer antigens. This leads to the phosphorylation of immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs), which promotes either partial or whole cell phagocytosis of the bound target cell.

Looking for Partners

To develop & commercialize the technology for cancer therapeutics

Stage of Development


Related Materials

Data Availability

See publication. Further information under CDA / NDA


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  • Morrissey, Meghan
  • Vale, Ronald D.
  • Williamson, Adam

Other Information


Immunotherapy, Macrophage, Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), Leukemia, Lymphoma, Solid tumor

Categorized As