Technology ID

MUC-1 Tumor Antigen Agonist Epitopes for Enhancing T-cell Responses to Human Tumors

Lead Inventor
Schlom, Jeffrey (NCI)
Tsang, Kwong-Yok (NCI)
Therapeutic Areas
Development Stages
Lead IC

The MUC-1 tumor associated antigen has been shown to be overexpressed and/or underglycosylated in a wide range of human cancers.  The C-terminus region of MUC-1 (MUC-1C) has been shown to be an oncogene and has been associated with a more aggressive phenotype in several different cancers.

Scientists at NIH have identified 7 new agonist epitopes of the MUC-1 tumor associated antigen.  Compared to their native epitope counterparts, peptides reflecting these agonist epitopes have been shown to enhance the generation of human tumor cells, which in turn have a greater ability to kill human tumor cells endogenously expressing the native MUC-1 epitope.  The agonist epitopes span both the VNTR region of MUC-1 and the C-terminus region.  The epitopes encompass 2 major MHC alleles reflecting the majority of the population.

Along with the method of use, the technology encompasses the use of these agonist epitopes in peptide- and protein-based vaccines, with dendritic cells or other antigen presenting cells, or encoding sequences in DNA, viral, bacterial, yeast, or other types of vectors, or to stimulate T-cells in vitro for adoptive immunotherapy protocols.

Competitive Advantages:

  • The agonist epitopes have been shown to be much more potent than their natural counterparts in activating human T-cells to MUC-1.
  • Compared to T-cells activated with the corresponding native epitopes, the T-cells activated by the agonist epitopes lyse tumor cells to a greater extent.
  • The technology can be used in a wide range of cancer vaccine platforms and in adoptive immunotherapy protocols.
  • The technology can be combined with existing vaccine platforms including those currently showing patient benefit, as well as with other therapeutic modalities.

Commercial Applications:

  • As a therapeutic vaccine to enhance patient's immune responses to a range of human cancers
  • As a preventive vaccine for patients with preneoplastic conditions or a high risk of developing cancer
  • As a preventive vaccine for cancers
  • For in vitro stimulation of lymphocytes for adoptive transfer protocols for cancer
Licensing Contact:
Pollack, Michael