Patent application #14588374 covers methods, compositions, and treatment protocols for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) through the inhibition of NR2F2 gene expression or activity of protein. This patent application also covers induction of differentiation or stimulation of apoptosis as a result of NR2F2 inhibition to reduce the state of MDS, and/or in other embodiments to inhibit or revert progression to leukemic states. While # 14588373 covers utilizing of gene silencing technologies pertaining to suppression of the nuclear receptor NR2F2 for use as cancer stem cell inhibitors as well as cancer stem cell pathway inhibitors and methods of using such compounds to treat cancer.
These new patent applications add to the Company’s existing portfolio of intellectual property covering therapeutics that can be used as differentiation therapy, a new form of cancer treatment that works by instructing cancer stem cells to mature in to normal cells that have a limited lifespan. This intellectual property will compliment other intellectual property in the Gene Silencing of Cancer Stem Cells Therapeutics Platform including in-house and acquired IP from the University of Toronto for the cancer stem cell gene NR2F6 (also known as EAR-2) and the Company’s CTCFL technology also known as BORIS).
We are working on establishing an area of expertise in Gene Silencing of Cancer Stem Cell target genes, that builds upon a licensing agreement with Benitec Biopharma for use in conjunction with their shRNA gene silencing platform. This allows us to take advantage of synergisms by establishing strengths and programs that we can use to comprehensively target the important genes in the cancer stem cell space. This will lead to economies of scale in therapy development.
The cancer stem cell is the most important and sought after cellular target of cancer therapy. Not every cancer cell within a tumor is able to divide. Cancer stem cells are the cells within the tumor that can divide an infinite number of times and are the cells within the tumor that allow a tumor to maintain its cancerous ability, therefore it is important to target those cells specifically.
“Patent protection is also essential for thoroughly protecting the Company’s space in this field. While existing patents cover NR2F6, a closely related member of that protein family, NR2F2 has some redundant and overlapping functions. Protecting this space is important not only to cover our target, but because resistance of the cancer to therapy is one the biggest causes of cancer therapy failure,” according to Dr. Thomas Ichim, the Company’s Chief Scientific Officer.
“The circuitry of the cell is like a stream. Many times, cancer therapeutics fail because the circuitry of the cell is equipped with redundant pathways that are turned on when the initial pathway is blocked, like the increased flow to tributaries when one branch of a stream is dammed. By silencing the NR2F6 related family member NR2F2 the Company believes that we can create more efficacious therapeutics by prospectively addressing possible mechanisms of resistance before they arise,” noted Christine Ichim, PhD, the Company’s Director of Molecular Therapeutics.
NR2F2 (COUP-TFII) is well known for its role in cancer by the mechanism of controlling key pathways in embryogenesis and tumor formation including the Notch signalling pathway, TGF-beta and retinoic acid signalling.