Engineered Matrix for Enriching Malignant Cancer Stem Cells


Reference #: 01067

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for a novel system for testing cancer drugs.

Invention Description:

Cancer recurrence or relapse is related to a very small population of highly-malignant and metastasizing cancer stem cells that have the ability initiate, propagate, and maintain the cancer tissue. This invention is a material composition that allows the growth and survival of cancer initiating/stem cells, or those cancer cells that are resistant to therapy. When any cancer cell line is embedded in the material composition of this invention, those cells in the population that are metastasizing cancer stem cells get a chance to survive and grow while those that are non-metastasizing do not get a chance to grow. Therefore, the gel becomes enriched with cancer stem cells.

Potential Applications:

This invention can be used as a cell culture system to test cancer drugs exclusively against cancer stem cells. This material composition can be used with all cancer cells including breast, lung, colon, gastric, liver, thyroid, bladder, oral, ovarian, and nasal to name a few.


An estimated 1.5 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the US and 0.5 million Americans die from cancer every year. The overall cost for cancer was $125 billion in 2010, and it is estimated to increase to $200 billion by the year 2020. More than 12 million new cancer cases were diagnosed worldwide in 2008 and an estimated 8 million deaths occurred in the same year. A major contributing factor to mortality in cancer patients is relapse after surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, and developing resistance to therapy.

There is a need to develop in vitro models to study the molecular basis of tumor initiation, progression and maintenance. Animal models either animal tumors grown in syngeneic animals or human tumors grown in immuno-compromised animals do not adequately reproduce the features of human cancers in vivo. Cancer cells grown on two-dimensional culture systems behave differently from those grown in physiological three-dimensional environment due to the lack of proper cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions as well as the gradient of nutrients and growth factors. Naturally derived matrices used in three-dimensional culture systems interfere with the intrinsic expression of cancer initiating cells. The engineered material composition of this invention can select the most invasive cancer stem cell phenotype in the heterogeneous population of tumor cells.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Three Dimensional Matrix for Cancer Stem Cells Utility United States 14/527,028 10,227,566 10/29/2014 3/12/2019   Issued
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Esmaiel Jabbari
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