Naoto Hirano MD, PhD
Associate Professor
naoto hirano

Contact Info

T: (416) 946-2190
F: (416) 946-6529


University Health Network
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
610 University Avenue
Toronto, ON, M5G2M9


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Research Interests

Adaptive Immunity, Developmental Immunology, Cancer Immunology, T-cells

Dr. Hirano's research program aims to devise novel anti-tumor immunotherapeutic modalities that can cure cancer. Dr. Hirano’s research team is particularly interested in understanding how the interactions between T cells and antigen-presenting cells affect priming, expansion, persistence and differentiation of T cells, as well as how this leads to the subsequent generation and maintenance of anti-tumor T cell memory.

Aspiring researchers and trainees who are eager to conquer cancer by harnessing the power of immunity are welcome to our laboratory.

Find out more about Dr. Hirano's research focus.

Publications and Awards

Recent Publications

  1. Kagoya Y, Tanaka S, Guo T, Anczurowski M, Wang C-H, Saso K, Butler MO, Minden MD, Hirano N. A novel chimeric antigen receptor containing a JAK-STAT3 signaling domain mediates superior antitumor effects. Nat Med. 2018
  2. Guo T, Koo MY, Kagoya Y, Anczurowski M, Wang C-H, Saso K, Butler MO, Hirano N. A subset of human autoreactive CD1c-restricted T cells preferentially express TRBV4-1+ TCRs. J Immunol. 2018
  3. Rozanov DV, Rozanov ND, Chiotti K, Reddy A, Wilmarth PA, David LL, Cha SW, Woo S, Pevzner P, Bafna V, Burrows GG, Rantala JK, Levin T, Anur P, Johnson-Canacho K, Tabatabaei S, Munson DJ, Bruno TC, Slansky JE, Kappler JW, Hirano N, Boegel S, Fox BA, Egelston C, Simons DL, Jimenez G, Lee PP, Gray JW, Spellman PT. MHC class I loaded ligands from breast cancer cell lines: A potential HLA-I-typed antigen collection. J Proteomics. 2018
  4. Yamashita Y, Anczurowski M, Nakatsugawa M, Tanaka M, Kagoya Y, Sinha A, Chamoto K, Ochi T, Guo T, Saso K, Butler MO, Minden M, Kislinger T, Hirano N. HLA-DP84Gly constitutively presents endogenous peptides generated by the class I antigen processing pathway. Nat Commun. 2017
  5. Ghazarian M, Revelo XS, Zeng K, Luck H, Lei H, Tsai S, Chng MHY, Shen L, D’Angelo JA, Horton P, Chapman WC, Brockmeier D, Engleman EG, Adeyi O, Hirano N, Jin T, Gehring AJ, Winer S, Winer D. Type I interferon responses drive intrahepatic T cells to promote metabolic syndrome. Sci Immunol. 2017
  6. Chamoto K, Guo T, Scally SW, Kagoya Y, Anczurowski M, Wang CH, Rahman MA, Saso K, Butler MO, Chiu PPL, Julien JP, Hirano N. Key residues at third CDR3β position impact function and structure of human invariant NKT-cell receptors. J Immunol. 2017
  7. Kagoya Y, Nakatsugawa M, Ochi T, Guo T, Cen Y, Saso K, Butler MO, Hirano N. Transient but not prolonged stimulation expands superior antitumor T cells for adoptive therapy. JCI Insight. 2017
  8. Merkel PA, Xie G, Monach PA, Ji X, Ciavatta DJ, Byun J, Pinder BD, Zhao Z, Zhang J, Tadesse Y, Qian D, Weirauch M, Nair R, Tsoi A, Ripke S, Pagnoux C, Carette S, Chung S, Cuthbertson D, Davis JC, Jr., Dellaripa PF, Forbess L, Gewurz-Singer O, Hoffman GS, Khalidi N, Koening C, Langford CA, Mahr AD, McAlear C, Moreland L, Seo EP, Specks U, Spiera RF, Sreih A, William St. Clair E, Stone JH, Ytterberg SR, Elder JT, Qu J, Ochi T, Hirano N, Edberg JC, Falk RJ, Amos CI, and Siminovitch KA for the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium. Identification of functional and expression polymorphisms associated with risk for anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody-associated vasculitis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017
  9. Kagoya Y, Nakatsugawa M, Yamashita Y, Ochi T, Guo T, Anczurowski M, Saso K, Butler MO, Arrowsmith CH, Hirano N. BET bromodomain inhibition generates superior antitumor CD8+ T cells with features of stem cell-like and central memory T cells for adoptive immunotherapy. J Clin Invest. 2016
  10. Guo T, Ochi T, Nakatsugawa M, Kagoya Y, Anczurowski M, Wang CH, Rahman MA, Saso K, Butler MO, Hirano N. Generating de novo antigen-specific human T cell receptors by retroviral transduction of centric hemichain. J Vis Exp. 2016
  11. Chamoto K, Guo T, Imataki O, Tanaka M, Nakatsugawa M, Ochi T, Yamashita Y, Saito AM, Saito TI, Butler MO, Hirano N. CDR3β sequence motifs regulate autoreactivity of human invariant NKT cell receptors. J Autoimmun. 2016
  12. Nakatsugawa M, Rahman MA, Yamashita Y, Ochi T, Wnuk P, Tanaka S, Chamoto K, Kagoya Y, Saso K, Guo T, Anczurowski M, Butler MO, Hirano N. CD4(+) and CD8(+) TCRβ repertoires possess different potentials to generate extraordinarily high-avidity T cells. Sci Rep. 2016
  13. Guo T, Chamoto K, Nakatsugawa M, Ochi T, Yamashita Y, Anczurowski M, Butler MO, Hirano N. Mouse and Human CD1d-Self-Lipid Complexes Are Recognized Differently by Murine Invariant Natural Killer T Cell Receptors. PLoS One. 2016
  14. 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
  15. Nakatsugawa M, Yamashita Y, Ochi T, Tanaka S, Chamoto K, Guo T, Butler MO, Hirano N. Specific roles of each TCR hemichain in generating functional chain-centric TCR. J Immunol. 2015
  16. Guo T, Chamoto K, Hirano N. Adoptive T Cell Therapy Targeting CD1 and MR1. Front Immunol. 2015
  17. Butler MO, Hirano N. Human cell-based artificial antigen-presenting cells for cancer immunotherapy. Immunol Rev. 2014
  18. Imataki O, Ansén S, Tanaka M, Butler MO, Berezovskaya A, Milstein MI, Kuzushima K, Nadler LM, Hirano N. IL-21 can supplement suboptimal Lck-independent MAPK activation in a STAT-3-dependent manner in human CD8(+) T cells. J Immunol. 2012
  19. Butler MO, Imataki O, Yamashita Y, Tanaka M, Ansén S, Berezovskaya A, Metzler G, Milstein MI, Mooney MM, Murray AP, Mano H, Nadler LM, Hirano N. Ex vivo expansion of human CD8+ T cells using autologous CD4+ T cell help. PLoS One. 2012
  20. Butler MO, Friedlander P, Milstein MI, Mooney MM, Metzler G, Murray AP, Tanaka M, Berezovskaya A, Imataki O, Drury L, Brennan L, Flavin M, Neuberg D, Stevenson K, Lawrence D, Hodi FS, Velazquez EF, Jaklitsch MT, Russell SE, Mihm M, Nadler LM, Hirano N. Establishment of antitumor memory in humans using in vitro-educated CD8+ T cells. Sci Transl Med. 2011
  21. Tanaka M, Butler MO, Ansén S, Imataki O, Berezovskaya A, Nadler LM, Hirano N. Induction of HLA-DP4-restricted anti-survivin Th1 and Th2 responses using an artificial antigen-presenting cell. Clin Cancer Res. 2011
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