Sensitivity Markers and Uses for CDK7 Inhibitors


Reference #: 01288

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for sensitivity markers and uses for CDK7 inhibitors in the selection of cancer patients who are most likely to benefit from CDK7-targeting drugs.



In recent years, the advent of targeted therapies for estrogen receptor (ER) positive and HER2 positive breast cancer has significantly improved the outcome for breast cancer patients. However, lack of response and high rates of relapse following treatment are significant clinical issues in the management of breast cancer. In addition, there is a distinct lack of targeted therapies and treatment options for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).


Invention Description:

Inhibitors of a protein CDK7, typified by a compound named THZ1, are undergoing clinical development for oncology, including breast cancer. However, it is not known how to identify those patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment with CDK7 inhibitors. A protein has been identified, and its expression in breast cancers correlates with cancer cell sensitivity to THZ1. Hence, expression of this protein in tumor biopsy samples can be used as a marker to identify patients whose tumors are especially likely to respond to CDK7 inhibition. It has also been found that the CDK7 inhibitor can be advantageously combined with a class of current clinical drugs inhibiting the protein EGFR; this combination should be therapeutically beneficial to breast cancer patients.


Potential Applications:

This discovery provides the means for selecting cancer patients who are the most likely to benefit from CDK7-targeting drugs. The invention also offers a new effective application for such drugs, by combining them with current clinical EGFR inhibitors.


Advantages and Benefits:

The diagnostic test for sensitivity proposed here can greatly improve achieving the clinical proof of concept for the development of CDK7-inhibiting drugs and define the groups of patients who will benefit from such drugs. No such markers, to the best of our knowledge, are currently available. The second aspect of this invention, the combination with EGFR inhibitors, will extend the use of CDK7targeting drugs to patients who might not effectively respond to CDK7targeting monotherapy.


Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Sensitivity Markers and Uses for CDK7 Inhibitors in Breast Cancers Utility United States 16/038,283 10,913,983 7/18/2018 2/9/2021   Notice of Allowance
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Eugenia Broude
Martina Mcdermott
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