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Platform to Enhance Anti-Tumor Immunity

There is a marked increase in immunosuppressive myeloid progenitors and myeloid cells in tumors and at metastatic tissue sites, rendering these types of cells useful in cancer therapeutics, especially after genetic modifications that improve their anti-tumor properties further. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) seeks research co-development or licensing partners to further develop genetically engineered myeloid cells (GEMys) for use in cancer immunotherapy.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • Genetically Engineered Myeloid Cells, GEMys, Platform Technology, Immunotherapy, Metastasis, Adoptive Cell Therapy, Kaplan
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

Cancer cells can spread to various regions in the body in a process called metastasis, which is associated with difficulty in treatment and thus reduced survival. Identifying metastatic biomarkers have been a major concern in the field of cancer diagnosis and therapy. Interestingly, research has shown that there is an increase in myeloid progenitors and myeloid cells at various stages of metastasis in tumors and tissues, as the immune system attempts to suppress cancer cells. This presents a unique opportunity for cancer immunotherapy.

Researchers at National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed a platform to culture myeloid cells from murine bone marrow cells and apheresed human peripheral blood. They genetically modified the myeloid cells to enhance anti-tumor immunity, limit inflammatory response, recruit T cells to sites of interest and specifically target, and kill tumors. The inventors used these genetically modified myeloid cells (GEMys) on a metastatic embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma tumor model. They observed an activation of immune system cells, such as mature T cells, at the site of metastases – as well as an increase in myeloid cell populations with anti-tumor properties. Furthermore, treatment of this orthotopic tumor model with GEMys reduced metastatic burden and significantly improved survival in mice. These cells can be combined with traditional immunotherapies and other cell-based strategies, such as chimeric antigen receptors, to further improve anti-tumor immunity.

The Pediatric Oncology Branch is seeking parties interested in licensing and/or co-developing this invention to commercialize the GEMys for improved cancer immunotherapy. 

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Cancer immunotherapy by GEMys alone or by coupling with T cell-based strategies
  • Treatment of primary solid and hematologic cancers
  • Treatment of metastatic, recurrent cancers
  • Treatment of autoimmune diseases through limiting the inflammatory response
Competitive Advantages
  • GEMys:
    • Improved survival in an orthotopic metastatic cancer model
    • Can be further modified for enhanced functionality
    • Can be used alone or in combination with therapeutic T cells

Rosandra Kaplan M.D. (NCI), Sabina Kratzmeier Ph.D. (NCI), Daniel Beury Ph.D. (NCI), Haiying Qin M.D., Ph.D. (NCI)

Development Stage

Giles AJ, et al. Activation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells promotes immunosuppression within the premetastatic niche.  [PMID 26719537]

Papaspyridonos M, et al. Id1 suppresses anti-tumour immune responses and promotes tumour progression by impairing myeloid cell maturation.  [PMID 25924227]

Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 62/803,468 , Filed 09 Feb 2019
  • PCT: PCT Application Number PCT/US2020/17515, Filed 10 Feb 2020
Therapeutic Area
Tuesday, September 22, 2020