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Allele Specific shRNA for Nanog, and Its Use to Treat Cancer

The National Cancer Institute announced positive study results indicating that the expression of NanogP8, a pseudogene of Nanog, is upregulated in human colorectal cancer spheroids formed in serum-free medium. The National Cancer Institute's Labortory of Experimental Carcinogenesis seeks parties of interest to co-develop the use of shRNAs incorporated into a lentiviral vector as a gene therapy to inhibit NanogP8, a retrogene upregulated in several carcinomas.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • Colorectal
  • Prostate
  • GlioblastomasStem cells
  • shRNA
  • NanogP8
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing.
Description of Technology

Cancer stem cells are currently thought to be major participants in resistance to radiation therapy and chemotherapy; they are also thought to drive the spread of cancer through metastasis.  It has been postulated that genes involved in early embryogenesis, primarily transcription factor Nanog but also Oct4 and SOX2, may be reactivated to maintain the properties of cancer stem cells, any treatment that inhibits such genes may therefore inhibit the progression of cancer and lead to improved survival and other clinical outcomes.

NCI scientists are developing a unique inhibitory RNA molecule that specifically targets NanogP8, which is upregulated in human colorectal cancer spheroids, human prostate cancer and glioblastomas. The discovery may improve the safety of a shRNA-based gene therapy and improve its chances for acceptance as a clinical therapy.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Improve the safety of a shRNA-based gene therapy and improve its chances for acceptance as a clinical therapy.
  • Novel cancer target given that NanogP8 is the only cancer-promoting retrogene exclusive to humans.
Competitive Advantages
  • Potential new therapy that targets colorectal cancer as well as other cancers.
  • Specifically knocks down expression of NanogP8 without interfering with expression of Nanog.

John Jessup (NCI), Jingyu Zhang (NCI)

Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Patent Issued: U.S. Patent Number
Therapeutic Area
Friday, May 4, 2018