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Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital tirelessly and brilliantly work to advance cures for, and prevent, pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment; and in their work they make discoveries beyond our core mission. These discoveries require further development, so our office endeavors to license them to companies who will turn them into successful products. Here are just a few examples of discoveries licensed from St. Jude that have been incorporated into products or processes that are now deployed in the marketplace.
Xalkori® (crizotinib) is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug made by Pfizer for use with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The ALK gene was discovered in the 1990s by St. Jude scientists searching for genes affected by a chromosomal change common in the cancer cells of pediatric patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Current estimates are approximately 3-5% (6,500 to 11,000) patients with non-small cell lung cancer carry the ALK rearrangement and may be candidates for treatment with Xalkori (SJ-93-0002).
KIR/KIR-Ligand Assay predicts the success of bone marrow transplants and prevents the return of cancer in transplant recipients. As part of the licensing agreement, Insight Genetics will optimize the test for rapid, high-capacity use and make it broadly available to physicians and their patients as well as donor registries (SJ-10-0024).
PRO-PredictRx TPMT® is a genetic assay doctors can use to help determine the correct dosage of thiopurines for their patients. The Prometheus Laboratories assay uses a discovery by Drs. William Evans and Eugene Krynetski of three mutations in the thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) gene that leave patients with a decreased ability to metabolize standard doses of thiopurines such as the leukemia drug 6-mercaptopurine. Patients with decreased ability to metabolize thiopurines can be identified by this assay and receive substantially the same benefit from reduced dosages of these drugs while avoiding toxic side effects.
FastImmune Cytokine System® was developed by BD Biosciences to rapidly analyze human lymphocyte activation and detect intracellular cytokines by flow cytometry. It contains an anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody (SJ25C1) developed at St. Jude. Determining intracellular cytokine levels in response to antigen activation can be used in the study of autoimmune diseases, HIV, tumor vaccine development, allergies and infectious diseases.
Oncomark 3-Color Oncomark Combinations® is an antibody cocktail from BD Biosciences used to study leukemia. In addition to the anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody (SJ25C1) developed at St. Jude which recognizes CD19 expressed on human B lymphocytes at most stages of maturation, this cocktail contains anti-CD79b, which is expressed at high levels in most B-cell disorders and either anti-kappa or anti-lamba which is present on neoplastic cells.