Co-inhibitory receptors, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1, have an important role in regulating T cell responses and have proven to be effective targets in the setting of chronic diseases where constitutive co-inhibitory receptor expression on T cells dampens effector T cell responses. Unfortunately, many patients still fail to respond to therapies that target CTLA-4 and PD-1. The next wave of co-inhibitory receptor targets that are being explored in clinical trials include Lag-3, Tim-3, and TIGIT. These receptors, although they belong to the same class of receptors as PD-1 and CTLA-4, exhibit unique functions, especially at tissue sites where they regulate distinct aspects of immunity. Increased understanding of the specialized functions of these receptors will inform the rational application of therapies that target these receptors to the clinic.
The next wave of co-inhibitory receptor targets for immunotherapy has specialized roles in regulating diverse aspects of the immune response. Understanding these roles is critical for incorporating therapies against these receptors into the current immunotherapy landscape.