Detection of Human Endogenous Retrovirus Expression in Cancer and Normal Cells

Invention Summary:

Approximately 8% of the human genome consists of sequences classified as Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), which are remnants of ancient retroviral integrations in the human genome. While HERV elements have degenerated over millions of years of evolution and most of them can no longer encode complete proteins, some HERV genes still have open reading frames (ORFs) and thus can potentially code for protein. HERV genes have been implicated in cancer development and linked to HIV infection, autoimmune, and other multi-factorial diseases. Although considerable advances have been made in the detection and treatment of human cancers, there still remains a need for additional means of detection and treatment. The present invention uses monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to a specific HERV-expressed protein to detect the retroviral protein product in cells and tissues of cancer or normal derivation. The present invention involves methods of screening and detection for cancer and other diseases in normal and cancerous human tissue and serum samples, using the sequenced and cloned specific HERV protein and antibodies to the specific HERV protein. 

Market Applications:

  • This technology can be used as a method for diagnosing, monitoring, or screening for cancer and other multi-factorial diseases.
  • This technology can be used to develop “immunotoxins” that target cancer cells expressing the HERV protein recognized by the antibodies developed.

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Published PCT application: PCT/US2012/027289

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ryan Escolin
Licensing Manager, Life Sciences
Rutgers University
Cancer biomarkers