Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Ligands for Image Guided Prostatectomy

Case Western Reserve University Background
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent diagnosed disease among men in the United States. Approximately 91% of prostate cancers detected are estimated to be clinically localized when first detected, which may qualify them as potential candidates for radical prostatectomy. Surgery, however, often incurs major side effects including incontinence and impotence caused by damaging or removing of nerves and muscles surrounding the prostate. Furthermore, approximately 20% of prostatectomies do not achieve a surgical cure, resulting in over 60% recurrence rate. The unmet need therefore is to perform more complete prostatectomies and simultaneously reduce a surgical morbidity.
Technology Overview
The subject technology is a novel high-affinity ligand for prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) that can selectively target prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. This novel PSMA ligand can be utilized to direct fluorophores, photodynamic therapy (PDT) agents, nuclear tags, and nanoparticles to human prostate and other cancer orthotopically or heterotopically implanted in mice. As this biomarker is overexpressed by either the cancer cells or neovasculature of many solid cancers, the opportunity to exploit these developments for other cancer is an advantage. Positive demonstration has been obtained for breast and brain cancer in addition to prostate tumors.
For illustration, researchers have demonstrated that PSMA can selectively deliver Pc4, which is a fluorescent as well as a PDT agent, to PSMA-expressing prostate tumor cells (). This novel approach takes advantage of both the fluorescent and PDT properties of Pc4. By delivering Pc4 to prostate cancer cells, the user can intraoperatively assess in real-time the extra-capsular invasion of the prostate cancer.
This aids in guiding the resection of prostate cancer and differentiation of critical surrounding structures and aid in the selective ablation of non-resectable tumor tissues to ensure maximum removal of the cancer after conventional surgery is complete.
The researchers seek commercialization partners with commitment to and leadership position in global health issues. Opportunities for collaboration may take a variety of forms, including: license of IP; participation directly or in conjunction with a private equity investor in a startup to develop and commercialize the technology; sponsored research.

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