Wnt and Frizzled Receptors as Targets of Immunotherapy in Human Cancers
Wnt and Frizzled Receptors as Targets of Immunotherapy in Human Cancers
Methods for using antibodies to treat head and neck, as well as breast cancer, by specifically targeting components of the Wnt signaling pathway.
San Diego, CA, United States
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Background

Cancers of the head and neck and the breast are common in the United States with more than 55,000 and 200,000 new cases being diagnosed every year, respectively. Although different treatment modalities currently exist, none of the current treatments specifically target resident cancer stem cells (CSCs), which facilitate tumor initiation, tumor maintenance, and cancer relapse [1][2]. These CSCs are similar to embryonic stem cells in that their self-renewal and pluripotency rely on developmental signaling pathways, one of which is the Wnt/frizzled signaling pathway. Since CSCs are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy, cancer therapeutics that exclusively target components of the Wnt/Frizzled signaling pathway may prevent tumor reinitiation and metastasis by eliminating CSCs.


Technology Description

UC San Diego researchers have identified proprietary methods for using antibodies to treat head and neck, as well as breast cancer, by specifically targeting components of the Wnt signaling pathway. Issued claims cover use of antibodies for immunotherapy [4] and for evaluating expression of components of the Wnt/Frizzled signaling pathway in human cancers. Such assessment may prove vital for evaluating the utility of drugs for specific patient populations and the efficacy of a treatment.


Advantages

Antibodies that inhibit Wnt signaling may be: 

  • Administered by a variety of methods, including parenteral (e.g., intravenous, intramuscular, intradermal, intraperitoneal, and subcutaneous routes), topical, oral, local, or transdermal administration [5].
  • Useful as prophylactic and/or therapeutic drugs.
  • Amenable to combination therapy by targeting the residual population that is refractory to standard chemotherapeutic drugs. 

 

State Of Development

  • In vitro studies have confirmed decrease in survival and proliferation upon the use of Wnt/Fzd antibodies in head and neck squamous cancer cell lines.
  • Patents cover primer sequences that specifically detect expression of components of the Wnt/Fzd pathway in cancer cells.
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