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Oncology at UMass Medical School.

Research topics on Cancer at UMMS includes:  

New anti-cancer drugs, new targets for treating breast, ovarian, colon, leukemia, lung, prostate cancer and more. Browse our innovation by scrolling though below.   







Browse Our Inventions:



Title: Use of miR-122 to Treat Liver Diseases. UMMS16-56; Patent Pending.  

  • This invention builds on the new discovery that grainyhead-like 1 and 2 (GRHL-1 and -2) proteins inhibit tumor suppressor, microRNA-122 (miR-122). Increasing the bioavailability of miR-122 may potentially help to treat liver diseases such as steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis, and liver cancer such as hepatocellular carcinoma. Therapeutic inhibition GRHL-1&2 may restore the positive therapeutic effects of miR-122 in liver. 

Title: Adeno-associated Virus Serotype Vectors Efficiently Transduce Normal Prostate Tissue. UMMS16-16; Patent Pending.

  • Newly discovered rAAVs that can effectively apply gene therapy to the prostate. With direct local injection of rAAV into the prostate, this technology holds the potential to treat numerous diseases, including prostate cancer, without the need for expensive and painful sugary, radiotherapy and medication. 

Title: Improving Efficacy of VEGF-Targeted Therapy in Prostate Cancer. UMMS16-02; Patent Pending. 

  • This invention discloses methods to improve the response to VEGF/VEGFR-targeted therapy in patients resistant to bevacizumab and sunitinib. Our critical finding is that inhibition of Rac1 activity using a commercially available compound renders resistant cells sensitive to bevacizumab and sunitinib and can therefore be used as an adjuvant to treat aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

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Title: New XCI Inhibitors as Potential Rett Syndrome Therapeutics. UMMS15-53; Patent Pending.

  • This invention provides methods of treating a subject having a dominant X-linked disease, the method comprising administering to the subject an X chromosome inactivation factor (XCIF) inhibitor in an amount effective for inducing expression a target X-linked gene. The invention provides small molecule and oligonucleotide XCIF inhibitors. In some embodiments, the X-linked gene is MECP2 and the X-linked disease is Rett Syndrome. 

Title: Targeting GDF6 and BMP Signaling for Anti-cancer Therapy. UMMS15-21; Patent Pending. 

  • A method of treating a melanoma in a subject, comprising administering to a subject an effective amount of an inhibitor of GDF6/BMP13 activity. 

Title: Tet1-Dependent Differentiation of Human Hematopoietic Stem Cell towards NKT And γδ T Cells. UMMS15-18; Patent Pending. 

  • The invention provides methods of producing hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with increased differentiation towards natural killer T cells (NKT) and gamma delta T cells (γδ T cells) for cancer immunotherapy. The HSCs are also functionally superior in their capacity to kill tumor cells, as injection of HSCs overexpressing Tet1 eliminates all of the carcinoma stages of neoplasia. 

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Title: Diagnostic Test for High Risk Premalignant Breast Lesions. UMMS14-69; Patent Pending. 

  • The present invention provides an objective biomarker, SFRP1, for the diagnosis of pre-malignant breast lesions also knows as atypical hyperplasias. The technology also discloses a gene expression profile used for predicting the risk that a pre-malignant breast lesion will advance to invasive breast cancer. Further, methods, assays and kits incorporating the SFRP1 biomarker are provided.

Title: Modified Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS) Proteins and Uses Thereof for the Treatment of Diseases. UMMS14-56; Patent Pending.

  • A new recombinant human MIS protein with improved effectivity may improve the treatment of cancer or neurodegenerative disease. This technology maximizes bioactivity using a leader sequence and a modified cleavage site that promotes increased product yield and MIS processing. This recombinant MIS protein also includes a tag to facilitate purification for research and therapeutic purposes. 

Title: A Method to Treat Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) Patients who have Developed BCR-ABL-Independent Imatinib Resistance and to Eradicate CML Stem Cells. UMMS14-47; Patent Pending.

  • This new innovation addresses the issues associated drug resistance of chronic myeloid leukiemia (CML) cells to imatinib mesylate (IM). IM improves patient survival and are used widely to treat early stages of CML, but the efficacy is known to drop when drug resistance is developed. This new invention builds on the finding that in IM resistant CML cells, RAF/MEK/ERK pathway is activated that is not subjected to IM targeting. Remarkably, when FDA approved MEK inhibitor, trametinib is treated in conjunction with IM, they synergistically kill CML cells and improve survival in mouse models. 

Title: Improved Microbiopsy Device. UMMS14-14; Patent Pending. 

  • This invention relates to an improved microbiopsy needle tip. The improvement is attributable to the presence of one or more combinations of features, including the use of a Franseen-type needle cutting tip, the provision of a "step-out" in which the collection portion of the biopsy device has a larger diameter than the procuring portion of the device, frictional force on the core of tissue exerted by the distal portion of the needle, which force is provided by the diameter of the distal collection portion of the device having substantially the same diameter as that of the procured core of tissue, the mechanical effects of scaling the needle to small dimensions; and the use of a needle that can be curved to as to sample multiple biopsy sites in close proximity without retracting the needle from the patient. 

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Title: INHIBITIONOFFGFSIGNALING. UMMS13-66; Patent 7,968,527. 

  • The technology discloses methods for inhibiting FGF signaling, a pathway that plays a role in embryogenesis, angiogenesis and cancer. The method comprises contacting the FGF-responsive cell with an exogenous Sulf1-treated heparin compound resulting in reduced cellular proliferation, cellular migration, and angiogenesis. In stem cells, FGF inhibition supresses mesoderm formation and, thereafter, redirects cellular differentiation to ectoderm.


  • The present invention provides amino and nucleic acid sequences for high-affinity variants of the DMF5 T-cell receptor.  Further, the invention provides methods of use for the treatment and imaging of melanoma in a patient.

Title: Highly Immunogenic HIV-1 gp120 Antigens and Polyvalent Vaccine. UMMS13-47; Patent Pending.

  • The invention provides codon-optimized DNA's and polypeptides useful for inducing an immune response against HIV.  The compositions and methods provided are based on the discovery that specific polyvalent, primary isolate DNA vaccines can effectively induce an immune response against HIV (e.g., HIV-1), e.g., alone or in combination with boosts of recombinant HIV polypeptide compositions. 

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Title: ANTI-TUMOR PROPERTIES OF DICKKOPF 3B. UMMS12-40; Patent 9,856,301.

  • This invention discloses novel therapeutics and methods for treating tumors and cancers via site-specific delivery of the tumor suppressor Dickkopf 3b (DKK3b). This technology is based on the finding that DKK3 expression is a hallmark of many human cancers and expression levels are inversely related to tumor virulence (e.g., in prostate cancer and ovarian cancer). Further, over-expression of DKK3 has been shown to halt proliferation of prostate cancer cells due to its ability to block the translocation of β-catenin to the nucleus.

Title: SRPX FOR TREATMENT OF CANCER. UMMS12-08; Patent 9,290,744.

  •  This technology provides compositions and methods of treatment for lung cancer. The invention is based on a discovery the tumor suppressor, SRPX is found at low levels of expression in solid human tumors compared to normal tissue. When SRPX is introduced at sufficient levels to tumor cells, SRPX can induce apoptosis and senescence to inhibit cellular proliferation. SRPX can easily be administered using the AAV gene therapy method and markedly suppresses lung cancer in mice.

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Title: Cancer Associated PcG (CAP) Bodies as a Cancer Biomarker. UMMS11-51; Patent Pending. 

  • The invention features methods of diagnosing cancer by detecting a biomarker selected from a satellite II ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, a cancer-associated polycomb group (CAP) body, a cancer-associated satellite transcript (CAST) body, and UbH2A. Also featured are methods of using these biomarkers to identify therapeutic cancer agents. Further, this invention provides methods to determine whether chemotherapeutic agents alter epigenetic imbalance in cells by determining a copy number of a satellite II DNA locus at chromosome 1q12. 

Title: The Use of the Salmonella Typhimurium Protein, SipA, as Multidrug Resistance (MDR) Reversal Agent. UMMS11-17; Patent Pending. 

  • The invention provides compositions and methods to revert multi-drug resistance in human cancers by inhibiting P-gp and/or p53 with purified SipA. 

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  • This patented technology discloses pharmaceutical compositions consisting of L-argnine, tetrahydrobiopterin, and ascorbate to treat diseases of oxidative stress and improve the therapeutic properties of stem cells. 


  • Described are methods for treating glioblastoma by administering an inhibitor of Notch signalling, e.g., a gamma secretase inhibitor, in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent. Specifically provided are methods of administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of temozolomide and a gamma secretase inhibitor.

Title: Gamitrinibs Sensitize Cancer Cells to TRAIL-Mediated Cell Death. UMMS10-01; Patent Pending. 

  • This novel technology describes methods to enhance apoptosis via mitochondria-targeted anti-tumor agents, death receptor agonists, autophagy inhibitors, and NF-κB signaling pathway inhibitors, and methods of making and using the same for the treatment of disorders associated with unwanted cell proliferation. 

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Title: Identification of Genes Preferentially Required for Growth of p53-Deficient Human Cancer Cells. UMMS09-56; Patent Pending. 

  • This invention discloses a novel cluster of genes discovered through a RNAi screen which could be a potential target of cancer treatment in p53 mutation cancers. p53 gene is mutated in numerous cancer therefore the newly discovered genes have potential for becoming a therapeutic target in wide range of cancers. The inventors performed a bias screen using p53 mutant cancer cells, p53-/- and +/- colorectal HCT116 cell lines and shRNA library. This screening yielded a selection of genes that are preferentially required for viability in p53 mutant cancer cells.  The verification experiments showed that a 24 gene-knockdown preferentially impaired growth of the p53 cell line. Using mice xenograft, 4 required genes were identified and show high potential for clinical use.

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Title: Pericentrin Antibody A102. UMMS08-20.

  • Monoclonal antibody against tyrosine phosphorylated pericertrin (A012), a centrosome protein involved in microtubule organization and cell division cycle regulation. Rabbit pericentrin antibody included. 

Title: New Monoclonal Peptide Antibodies to Centriolin. UMMS08-19.

  • Polyclonal peptide antibodies against Centriolin, a centrosome protein involved in microtubule organization and cell division cycle regulation. Rabbit Centriolin N-terminus and C-terminus antibodies are included.


  • This new invention predicates on the finding that midbody (MB), a singular organelle formed between daughter cells during cytokinesis required for separation, are inherited asymeetrically by daughter cell of stem cells and cancer ‘stem cells’. The new methods disclosed in this invention can modulate degradation.