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Novel gene therapy for cancer

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20171017001
Publication Date: 19 October 2017


A German university developed a novel therapy for cancer using a gene editing approach by inhibiting the IκB kinase. The here presented method allows a selective induction of apoptosis in cells associated with a proliferative disorder. The university offers a license agreement.


The NF-κB signaling (nuclear factor 'kappa-light-chain-enhancer' of activated B-cells) pathway plays a pivotal role in a broad range of cellular processes including cell proliferation and survival and is tightly linked to diseases such as cancer. 

The invention of a German university provides compositions comprising IKK1 (IκB kinase) and IKK2 antagonists for use in medical treatments of proliferative disorders, in particular for the treatment of cancer. Most preferred in context of the invention is a gene editing approach for a targeted simultaneous knockout of the genes of IKK1 and IKK2 in a cell associated with the proliferative disorder.

The herewith presented approach uses the recently invented CRISPR/Cas technology, a DNA sequence forming the basis of genome editing technology to modify genes within organisms. Some companies started to use this technology in the genetic therapy.
Simultaneous CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of IKBKA (IKK1) and IKBKB (IKK2) resulted in cells highly sensitized for programmed cell death (apoptotic/necroptotic) after exposure to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. This effect was not observable in single knockouts for either IKK1 or IKK2. Targeting of IKK1 and IKK2 simultaneously, preferably on the genome level, therefore opens up new therapeutic avenues to tackle proliferative disorders such as cancer. Hence, the present methods and compositions provide a means for the selective induction of apoptosis in cells associated with a proliferative disorder, such as tumor cells.

The university offers a license agreement to companies pursuing genetic approaches in cancer treatment.

Advantages and Innovations

In comparison to approaches previously used this invention applies specific gene sequences for the IκB kinase. This leads to a completely novel therapy for cancer that opens up new therapy options even for drug-resistant cancers.

Stage Of Development

Field tested/evaluated

Requested partner

The university offers a license agreement.
This technology addresses companies pursuing genetic approaches in cancer treatment. The licensee should want to apply or establish the CRISPR/Cas technology (a DNA sequence that plays a key role in a bacterial defense systemand form the basis of a genome editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9, that allows permanent modification of genes within organisms.).

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