Recently, our collaborators demonstrated that ovary cells which have a protein receptor on their surface called the Follicle Stimulating Hormone Receptor (FSHR) can be targeted with CAR-T technology. Studies also show that FSHR only exists on ovary cells in an adult female. In addition, there exists a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that binds exquisitely to the FSHR. This hormone-receptor combination has evolved over millions of years to be highly selective.
The unique expression of FSHR on only one type of cell in an adult female is analogous to the CD-19 situation with B-cells. Similarly, women can survive without their ovaries. Therefore, we feel that CAR-T technology where the CAR is FSH and the antigen is FSHR, could be similar to the B-cell situation and our proprietary (patents filed) approach could be one of the first, if not the first, effective CAR-T therapy for a solid tumor.
Studies in vitro and in vivo (in animals) demonstrate excellent effectiveness of our CAR-T approach. (Clinical Cancer Research, 23(2) January 15, 2017, 441-453).
Even more interesting is the fact that FSHR appears to be expressed on the surface of blood vessels in tumors of other types such as prostate, colon, lung, pancreatic and others. This is an important point: While FSHR does not exist on cells in healthy adults except for ovaries in women and testis in men, it does appear on blood vessels that nourish other tumors. Therefore, should this therapy work for ovarian cancer patients, it may also work for multiple other cancers.
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