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Stimulation of Natural Killer T-cell Anti-tumor Activity

Posted Oct 26 2010 8:00pm

Description of Invention:
Natural killer T cells (NKT) are a unique lymphocyte population that has T-cell and NK cell functional properties in order to rapidly elicit an immune response. alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) is a potent NKT stimulator and induces of IFN-gamma release to promote immunity against tumors and infectious agents. Humans have natural antibodies against alpha-galactose, which may be one of the reasons why the human clinical trials of alpha-GalCer or KRN7000 were not very successful.

Investigators at the National Cancer Institute have found that beta-mannosylceramide (beta-ManCer) promotes immunity in an IFN-gamma independent mechanism. beta-ManCer is a new class of NKT agonist that induces immune responses alone, through nitric oxide and TNF-alpha-dependent mechanisms, or synergistically with alpha-GalCer to enhance alpha-GalCer’s efficacy. Since beta-ManCer does not have alpha-galactose, which can be neutralized by natural antibodies, patients could be treated with multiple doses without negative side effects associated with the loss of IFN-gamma production. Hence, beta-ManCer is a promising anti-cancer treatment either alone or in combinatorial therapies with alpha-GalCer to selectively induce immune responses.

  • Cancer therapeutics
  • Potent stimulator of NKT activity

  • Induces tumor immunity through a novel mechanism
  • Decreased possibility of neutralization by natural antibodies
  • Synergize with alpha-GalCer

Development Status:
The technology is currently in the pre-clinical stage of development.

Masaki Terabe (NCI)

Patent Status:
HHS, Reference No. E-034-2010/0
US, Application No. 61/313,508 filed 12 Mar 2010

Licensing Status:
Available for licensing.

Collaborative Research Opportunity:
The Vaccine Branch of the National Cancer Institute is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize beta-ManCer. Please contact John Hewes, Ph.D. at 301-435-3121 or for more information. Click here to view the NCI collaborative opportunity announcement.

Cancer - Therapeutics
Cancer - Other

For Licensing Information Please Contact:
Jennifer Wong
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
6011 Executive Blvd. Suite 325,
Rockville, MD 20852
United States
Phone: 301-435-4633
Fax: 301-402-0220

Ref No: 2183

Updated: 10/2010

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