Northwest Gets Patent for Antibodies to Primary, Metastatic Cancer Protein

March 25, 2005

Northwest Biotherapeutics has been issued a patent for antibodies to a protein that plays an important role in human cancer, both in primary tumors and in metastasis.

The protein, known as CXCR4, is a chemokine receptor, which is over expressed in more than 65 percent of human cancers. The CXCR4 protein is unique in that it plays an important role in three fundamental aspects of cancer: cancer cell proliferation, invasion and migration, resulting in the seeding of metastatic cells at distant sites such as bone, lung and brain. It is rare for a cancer-related protein to play an important role in all three functional aspects of cancer cells, across many types of cancers. As such, CXCR4 offers an exceptional therapeutic opportunity to prevent proliferation of primary tumors, as well as to prevent metastases.

The patent, titled "Therapeutic and Diagnostic Applications Based on the Role of the CXCR4 Gene in Tumorigenesis," provides broad coverage for the use of antibodies in preventing and inhibiting the proliferation of cells that over express CXCR4, and for the killing of such cells. Additional issued claims cover the use of antibodies to CXCR4 that are conjugated with a radioactive substance, toxin or drug.