Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tech Spotlight: A Novel Biomarker for Identification, Monitoring and Treatment of Melanoma

Dr. Mayumi Fujita and Dr. Charles Dinarello of the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine have identified a novel biomarker known as IL-37, and developed a method for the diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring of inflammatory cancers. Using microarray to analyze peripheral blood, Drs. Fujita and Dinarello found expression of IL-37 to be differentially expressed in human melanoma blood. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed that IL-37 was up-regulated 3.4 fold in blood leukocytes of melanoma patients (average IL-37 expression in healthy samples is 0.00015). IL-37 expression increases so dramatically that a significant change is detectable in even Stage I patient samples.

The early stage sensitivity of IL-37 makes it an ideal front line detection method for melanoma. This method of measuring IL-37 shows great promise as an early diagnostic and prognostic tool for early stage inflammatory cancers, including melanoma, leukemia, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, prostate, and lung. In addition, increased expression of IL-37 is detectable in blood, permitting a simple diagnostic measurement in body fluids, including blood, cultured whole blood, serum, plasma, cerebrospinal and cancer tissue.

To learn more and view relevant patent documents, please open this short, non-confidential summary. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 2012 Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's February newsletter:

Event: Entrepreneurship Under the Microscope
Recap + Video: "Inside The Black Box"

GlobeImmune Tests New Cancer Drug
Drug and vaccine research company GlobeImmune Inc. is testing its new GI-6301 Tarmogen cancer drug in a study funded by the National Cancer Institute. The GI-6401 Tarmogen product is used for patients with metastatic cancers containing brachyury protein.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals to Take Over Eyetech
Valeant Pharmaceuticals recently agreed to acquire Eyetech, a privately owned ophthalmic biotechnology company. Eyetech currently markets Macugen® in the U.S., the first anti-VEGF inhibitor approved for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that was developed at CU.

CU Study Details On-Off Switch for Breast Cancer
Signals can tell cells to act cancerous, surviving, growing and reproducing out of control. And signals can also tell cells with cancerous characteristics to stop growing or to die. In breast cancer, one tricky signal called TGF-beta does both - sometimes promoting tumors and sometimes suppressing them. A study recently published by CU Denver researcher Heide Ford details how tumors may flip the TGF-beta signalling switch, allowing doctors to delete the pathway entirely when it promotes tumors, and leave it intact when it's still working to suppress them. (Learn more about this research program.)

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Tech Spotlight: First-In Class GTPase Targeted Cancer Therapeutic & Diagnostic

Dr. Dan Theodorescu, Director of the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Colorado, along with fellow collaborators at the University of Colorado,has identified an effective approach to target the two Ral (Ras-like) GTPase proteins, RalA and RalB, for the treatment of cancer. This research group is also developing a companion diagnostic/prognostic assay that can guide therapy, along with several lead compounds that may constitute a “first-in-class” GTPase targeted cancer therapeutic that does not rely on inhibition of post-translational protein modifications.

Dr. Theodorescu's group has identified several non-proprietary Ral inhibitors as lead candidates for drug derivatization, now the subject of ongoing development aimed at design and synthesis of a novel series of second generation Ral inhibitors with enhanced potency, specificity, and pharmacokinetic properties. Dr. Theodorescu also identified a “transcriptional signature” of 39 genes that respond to depletion of RalA and RalB in vivo, then evaluated the signature in microarray-profiled tumor cohorts. The Ral transcriptional signature score (RTSS) provides a new prognostic tool that can be evaluated and compared alongside current clinical practice, guiding therapy and aggressiveness of treatment.

To read a non-confidential summary of this novel treatment approach, including links to relevant scientific publications, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Fullerene Separation Through Use of Shape-Persistent Cubic Cages

Researchers from the University of Colorado led by Wei Zhang have combined expertise in both DCC (Dynamic Covalent Chemistry) synthesis of shape-persistent 3D organic molecular cages and novel alkyne metathesis catalysts to design and construct a highly selective cubic cage structure for the selective separation of C70 from C60. This technology, based on the “selective complexation-decomplexation” strategy, offers a true breakthrough in fullerene separations, and is of great importance to both the fundamental study and practical applications of this intriguing class of carbon nanomaterials.
Fullerenes are of particular interest in the biopharma industry due to their potential as a controlled-release agent in drug transport and their ability to eliminate free radicals. In particular, C60 and C70 also have applications in photovoltaics, electronics, and in the development of novel polymers.

To learn more, please view a short, non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to the key scientific publication. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Recap + Video: "Inside The Black Box"

In late January, TTO hosted an event for key stakeholders offering a look at the inner workings of tech transfer at CU. TTO’s leadership provided details about how CU inventions turn into royalties, new companies and jobs, and how various internal and external groups play a role in making this happen; the event also offered a deeper look at TTO performance metrics analyzing both new and mature cohorts of CU inventions as they progress through the patent and licensing stages.

We've made the slides from this event available in PDF format here (supplemental materials available here). TTO media partner w3w3.com also provided a video excerpt from the event featuring TTO head Dave Allen, and event photos available here (free registration required).