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Assays for Measuring and Quantifying DNA Damage

The National Cancer Institute seeks partners interested in licensing or co-development of assays for determining the levels of gamma-H2AX/H2AX to measure and quantify DNA damage.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • DNA damage
  • ionizing radiation
  • chemotherapeutic agents
  • and environmental agents
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

Exposure to ionizing radiation or agents that induce DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs), which is one of the most damaging types of lesions in DNA, can result in damage to cells and/or tissues.  Thiscan lead to illness (i.e., Acute Radiation Syndrome, Cancer) or death.  Identifying the amount of exposure to a DNA DSB-causing agent can be useful in determining the need for further testing, avoidance or modification of certain medical procedures, and/or types of medical treatments.

Strand breaks can be identified and quantified in situ by detecting phosphorylated histone protein γ-H2AX (gamma-H2AX) foci formed at DSBs.  The National Cancer Institute’s Developmental Therapeutics Branch have developed an assay for simultaneously quantifying the amount of γ-H2AX and total H2AX.  The ratio of γ-H2AX/H2AX provides reliable data that is independent of cell number, cell viability, cell lysis efficiency, and laboratory operator variability.  The assay is both sensitive and specific, having a 100-fold quantitative range with sensitivity of 5 pM for γ-H2AX and 50 pM for H2AX.

Potential Commercial Applications

Assay for measuring the DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation such as X-rays, environmental agents such as UV light, mutagenic chemicals, and cigarette smoke, and chemotherapeutic agents such as bleomycin and topotecan.

Competitive Advantages
  • High sensitivity and specificity -100 fold quantitative range with sensitivity of 5 pM for γ-H2AX and 50 pM for H2AX
  • Can be performed on different types of samples ranging from cells, blood, and tissues

Christophe Redon (NCI), Yiping Zhang (NCI), Jiuping Ji (NCI), and William M. Bonner (NCI)

Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Patent Filed: U.S. Patent Application Number
Therapeutic Area
Wednesday, August 31, 2016