Dr. Naoto Hirano

Clinician-Scientist I

The overarching research goal of Dr. Naoto Hirano is to devise novel anti-tumour immunotherapeutic modalities that can cure cancer. His team has developed a series of human cell-based artificial antigen-presenting cells (APC) that can generate in vitro large numbers of HLA class I-restricted CD8 T-cells, class II-restricted CD4 T-cells, polyclonal CD3 T-cells, and CD1d-restricted iNKT cells. Using these artificial APC, he is conducting basic, translational and clinical research in human T-cell immunology. His team is particularly interested in understanding how the interactions between T-cells and APC affect priming, expansion, persistence and differentiation of T-cells. They also seek to clarify how this leads to the subsequent generation and maintenance of T-cell memory.

Current affiliations

  • Clinician-Scientist I, OICR;
  • Associate Director for Research, Tumour Immunotherapy Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre;
  • Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre;
  • Professor of Medicine, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto.

Research interests

  • Cancer immunotherapy;
  • Adoptive T-cell therapy.

Select publications

Kagoya Y, Nakatsugawa M, Saso K, Guo T, Anczurowski M, Wang CH, Butler MO, Arrowsmith CH, Hirano N
DOT1L inhibition attenuates graft-versus-host disease by allogeneic T cells in adoptive immunotherapy models.
Nat Commun. 2018 May 15;9(1):1915


Kagoya Y, Tanaka S, Guo T, Anczurowski M, Wang CH, Saso K, Butler MO, Minden MD, Hirano N . A novel chimeric antigen receptor containing a JAK-STAT signaling domain mediates superior antitumor effects.
Nat Med. 2018 Mar;24(3):352-359


Ghazarian M, Revelo XS, Nøhr MK, Luck H, Zeng K, Lei H, Tsai S, Schroer SA, Park YJ, Chng MHY, Shen L, D’Angelo JA, Horton P, Chapman WC, Brockmeier D, Woo M, Engleman EG, Adeyi O, Hirano N, Jin T, Gehring AJ, Winer S, Winer DA
Type I Interferon Responses Drive Intrahepatic T cells to Promote Metabolic Syndrome.
Sci Immunol. 2017 Apr 21;2(10)


Yamashita Y, Anczurowski M, Nakatsugawa M, Tanaka M, Kagoya Y, Sinha A, Chamoto K, Ochi T, Guo T, Saso K, Butler MO, Minden MD, Kislinger T, Hirano N
HLA-DP84Gly constitutively presents endogenous peptides generated by the class I antigen processing pathway.
Nat Commun. 2017 May 10;8:15244


Ochi T, Nakatsugawa M, Chamoto K, Tanaka S, Yamashita Y, Guo T, Fujiwara H, Yasukawa M, Butler MO, Hirano N
Optimization of T-cell Reactivity by Exploiting TCR Chain Centricity for the Purpose of Safe and Effective Antitumor TCR Gene Therapy.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Sep;3(9):1070-81

Previous experience and education

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.

Related links

University Health Network – Dr. Naoto Hirano

Opportunities to collaborate

Dr. Hirano welcomes collaboration. For more information contact him at naoto.hirano@uhnresearch.ca.