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NCI Seeks Collaborators, Licensees for 'First' miRNA Gene Used as Rx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Cancer Institute is looking to license or co-develop a microRNA sequence that it said can enhance the capacity of T-lymphocytes to recognize tumors in several kinds of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
NIH said the technology, listed under patent application No. 60/940,172, is the “first reported use” of an miRNA gene to treat disease.
According to the agency, NCI discovered that genetically engineering T-lymphocytes with the gene, called miR-181a, “dramatically augmented the function of poorly responsive human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and TCR-engineered peripheral blood lymphocytes, resulting in potent anti-tumor reactivity.”
It also said that in a mouse model, miR-181a, “increased the function of self/tumor-specific CD8+ T cells enabling effective tumor destruction in the absence of vaccination or exogenous cytokines that were otherwise essential requirements.”
Pre-clinical work on miR-181a has been completed and clinical studies are being planned, the NIH said.
The IP is up for exclusive or non-exclusive license, NCI said. Additional information can be found here.
NCI also said that its Surgery Branch seeks statements of interest from parties that want to “develop, evaluate, or commercialize the therapeutic use of microRNA-181a in the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer.”

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