CD44-selective Nanovectors for Targeted Delivery of Therapeutics to Cancer Stem Cells

Track Code: 
The invention describes CD44-selective nanovector systems for cancer-targeted delivery of molecular therapeutics.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are rare cancer cells capable of self-renewal and differentiation and thus, are believed to cause tumor regrowth and metastasis, which may result in tumors resistant to conventional cancer therapies (i.e., chemotherapy and radiotherapy). CSCs are found in many cancers, including colon, pancreas, prostate, brain, and breast cancers; thus, CSCs are attractive targets for the treatment of cancer. Accordingly, the inventors developed a nanoparticle delivery system to selectively treat CSCs via controlled drug delivery and release. The nanovector was invented to target CSCs expressing the CD44 antigen and deliver therapeutic nucleic acids to knock down genes responsible for the self-renewal and/or survival of the CD44-targeted CSCs, thus inhibiting the development of cancer. The invention describes compositions and methods for preparing the therapeutic nanovectors and uses thereof.
The invention can be used in a therapy to inhibit the development of cancer, including prostate and breast cancers.
How it works: 
The CD44 antigen, a cell-surface glycoprotein, is a known marker for cancer stem cells of various types of cancers. The invention describes a nanovector developed with a targeting function to CD44-expressing cells. The CD44-selective nanovector encapsulates and delivers nucleic acid therapeutics to targeted CSCs, thus treating cancer. The nanovectors can be formulated into therapeutic products for administration to subjects with cancer.
  • CD44 is expressed in various types of cancers; thus, the CD44-selective nanovector is an attractive therapy for targeted drug delivery to different cancer cell types.
  • The encapsulated therapeutic nucleic acid can be any type of nucleic acid capable of inhibiting cancer development; the nanovector can carry one or more therapeutic agents.
  • The current CSC-targeting technology may be a particularly beneficial therapy for patients with tumors resistant to conventional chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy (i.e., metastatic cancer patients).
Why it is better: 
  • The invented nanovector provides a more potent and specific therapy for CSCs via targeted drug delivery and release compared to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • The current nanovector technology offers improved in vivo efficacy, efficiency, and specificity in the treatment of cancer stem cells compared to current or prior technologies.
Other Applications: 
The technology can be applied to target and treat cancer stem cells, precancerous cells, tumor-initiating cells, progenitor cells, and/or any cells expressing CD44.
Licensing Associate: 
Aswini Betha, PhD · · 913-588-5713
Liang Xu
Xiaojie Meng
Xinbao Hao
US 2015/0151004