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Cancer Therapeutic based on Stimulation of Natural Killer T-cell Anti-tumor Activity

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Investigators at the National Cancer Institute''s Vaccine Branch have found that beta-mannosylceramide (Beta-ManCer) promotes immunity in an IFN-gamma independent mechanism and seek statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize beta-ManCer.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • immunity
  • antibody
  • NKT activity
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing.
Description of Technology

Natural killer T cells (NKT) are a unique lymphocyte population that has T-cell and NK cell functional properties in order to rapidly elicit an immune response.  alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) is a potent NKT stimulator and induces of IFN-gamma release to promote immunity against tumors and infectious agents.  Humans have natural antibodies against alpha-galactose, which may be one of the reasons why the human clinical trials of alpha-GalCer or KRN7000 were not very successful.

Beta-ManCer is a new class of NKT agonist that induces immune responses alone, through nitric oxide and TNF-alpha-dependent mechanisms, or synergistically with alpha-GalCer to enhance alpha-GalCer''s efficacy.  Since beta-ManCer does not have alpha-galactose, which can be neutralized by natural antibodies, patients could be treated with multiple doses without negative side effects associated with the loss of IFN-gamma production.  Hence, beta-ManCer is a promising anti-cancer treatment either alone or in combinatorial therapies with alpha-GalCer to selectively induce immune responses.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Cancer therapeutics
  • Potent stimulator of NKT activity
Competitive Advantages
  • Induces tumor immunity through a novel mechanism
  • Decreased possibility of neutralization by natural antibodies
  • Synergize with alpha-GalCer

Masaki Terabe (NCI), Ira Pastan

Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Patent Filed: U.S. Patent Application Number 61/313,508, Filed 12 Mar 2010
Therapeutic Area
Tuesday, April 7, 2020