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Research Foundation

Highly Efficient Method of Diagnosing Lesions Using Neutrophils and Providing Targeted Drug Delivery to the Afflicted Areas

Reference Number: 12-28
Inventors: Deryl Troyer, Stefan Bossmann, Hongwang Wang, Matthew Basel, Tej Shrestha

KSU has developed a fast, highly efficient and extremely targeted drug delivery method for lesion-causing diseases including cancer, using lesion-homing neutrophils abundant in peripheral blood. Neutrophils are loaded with therapeutic drugs and/or fluorophores using liposomes or other nanomaterials having neutrophil-specific peptide fragments. The potent therapeutic drugs or fluorophores are released in active form when the neutrophils undergo apoptosis, shortly after reaching a lesion. Neutrophil-generated oxidative species cause bioluminescence of fluorophores, which is detected by appropriate imaging devices and can utilized for early, deep-seated tumor detection. These lesion-homing neutrophils can also be quickly loaded in blood via incubation with loaded, non-pathogenic, heat-inactivated bacteria. For example, Magnetospirillum can be used to load magnetic nanoparticles into the neutrophils, in order to generate cell-mediated magnetic hyperthermia in the tumors. Lactobacillus can be employed as a vector for loading chemotherapeutic drugs into neutrophils, which migrate to tumors/metastases or inflammatory foci and release their payload.

Technical Merits:

The key aspect is the high specificity and efficiency of this method of delivering drugs to a lesion (e.g. a tumor), due to the specific nature of lesion-homing neutrophils. The fact that neutrophils in peripheral blood can be quickly loaded without isolating and culturing them is a significant value proposition of this invention. Moreover by utilizing bioluminescence of fluorophores, it provides for an accurate and extremely sensitive detection method for deep-seated lesions including tumors. This method offers minimal risk of immune rejection during cancer therapy, as autologous neutrophils are the first responders to tumors.

The neutrophils can be loaded with a range of therapeutic and diagnostic agents for lesion-causing diseases, including drugs, fluorophores, photosensitizers, antibiotics or other antibacterial agents, MMP inhibitors, anti-fungal agents, anti-viral agents, anti-inflammatory agents, and magnetic nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia.

Applications and Commercial Opportunities:
  • Imaging lesions (e.g. tumors) for early detection and diagnosis

  • Treatment of lesions and tumors by in situ photodynamic therapy

  • Stealth system for delivering therapeutic drugs such as for anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory applications

  • Use of hidden prodrugs for release at targeted sites

  • Cancer therapy for deep and disseminated tumors

  • Cell-mediated magnetic hyperthermia

Patent Status
  • Provisional patent application filed in November 2012.

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909
E-Mail: ic@k-state.edu