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Adenovirus Mediated Transfer of a Novel Gene for Treatment of Multiple Cancers

Value Proposition
About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The early detection of breast cancer drastically improves a patient's prognosis and is encompassed within a diagnostic market expected to reach $27 billion by 2020. A gene of recent interest for early detection is CLN3, which is overexpressed in many types of breast cancers. Therefore, CLN3 has the potential to serve as an insightful biomarker for breast cancer risk and can facilitate early therapeutic interventions.

The inventors have found that CLN3, a highly conserved gene hypothesized to underlie juvenile Batten disease, is overexpressed in several breast cancer cell lines compared to the control cell-line 293, a kidney epithelial cell line. In fact, an upregulation of CLN3 was found in other cellular models of breast cancer as well, such as colon cancer and leukemia. The inventors go on to demonstrate an anti-apoptotic function for CLN3 and that downregulation of CLN3 can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. This finding thus provides a method of screening human subjects that are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, namely by detecting the upregulation of the CLN3 gene. This method can also be used to screen patients that have previously been diagnosed with, or are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.


  • Early diagnostic tool for breast cancer
  • Screening method to longitudinally track effectiveness of breast cancer therapies

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Boustany, Rose-Mary
  • Amalfitano, Andrea
  • Chang, Jerry
  • Guo, Wei-Xing


  • Puranam et al., 1999. CLN3 defines a novel anti-apoptotic pathway operative in neurodegeneration and mediated by ceramide. Mol. Genet. Metab.
  • Rylova et al., 2002. The CLN3 gene is a novel molecular target for cancer drug discovery. Cancer Res.

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School of Medicine (SOM)