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Project TitleRNA Helicases as Novel Targets for Cancer Therapy
Track Code2017-095
Short Description
TagsEndogenous retroviruses, retrotransposons, genomic repeat elements, RNA helicase, cancer immunotherapy
Posted DateAug 18, 2017 6:45 PM

Market Opportunity

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affects 20,000 new people in the United States each year and has a survival rate of less than 30%. This is because leukemic stem cells avoid immune-mediated clearance and cause the cancer to re-emerge. Hypomethylating agents used to treat AML activate transposable elements (TE) in leukemic stem cells thus marking these cells for clearance. However, it is not understood why this method does not prevent relapse. In a market that is expected to reach $1 billion in 2020, there is an increasing demand for novel therapeutic approaches to improve patient survival in AML and other types of leukemia.

USC Solution

USC scientists have identified novel targets for the activation of cancer immunogenicity via TEs. They have shown that TEs are heavily suppressed by the upregulation of TE modulators such as RNA helicases and autophagy genes not only in AML but also in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Hence, they unraveled a novel, more targeted approach to improve cancer therapies via the activation of suppressed TEs in tumor cells. This new approach has the potential to improve long-term patient survival in various types of leukemia.

Value Proposition

  • Novel targets for promotion of cancer immunogenicity
  • More targeted, less toxic than currently used interferon-based therapies
  • Potential to increase long-term patient survival in AML and MDS
  • Potential application in solid cancers of ovaries and colon


  • Novel target for cancer immunotherapy drugs

Stage of Development

  • Tested in cancer cell lines
  • Available for exclusive and non-exclusive license

Intellectual Property

Contact Information

Camilo Ansarah-Sobrinho

Licensing Associate

(213) 821-6071



File Name Description
NCD 2017-095 - RNA Helicases as Novel Targets for Cancer Therapy.pdf None Download