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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.”

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.