Method for treating COVID-19 (SJ-20-0035)

St. Jude Reference #SJ-20-0035


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is characterized by a high incidence of acute respiratory failure, and the differences between this new infection and traditional respiratory infectious disease are not fully known. Researchers at St. Jude and Washington University studied cytokine levels in patients to reveal different profiles.

Among other things, the researchers discovered that there is a distinctive signature of immune regulation in patients with severe forms of COVID. This regulation consists of elevated levels of IL-6 in conjunction with other immune regulatory features consistent with persistent and elevated levels of glucocorticoid signaling. The invention would involve the combination of anti-IL6 therapy (tocilizumab) with any one of anti-cortisol therapies including (but not limited to) ketoconazole, mitotane (Lysodren), metyrapone (Metopirone), mifepristone, and pasireotide.

This would be a novel treatment for severe COVID-19 disease. It is novel in that corsitol/glucocorticioids are natural immunosuppressants—the general view is that COVID patients are hyperinflammatory—our hypothesis is that while they have some specific pathways of inflammation, the major pathology is being driven by an excess of natural cortisol production.

Currently they are no effective anti-host therapies—antiIL-6 is being used alone but we would argue it would be more effective in combination with a cortisol reducing agent. Some centers are treating patients by giving more glucocorticoids—this is extremely controversial but still being done, with some indication of very negative outcomes.

Please contact us to find out more about this method of treatment. The full text of their findings is located in the Publication listed below.


Immunotherapy, Extradomain-B Fibronectin (EDB-FN, EDB), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), cancer, solid tumor, brain tumor, T cell, γδ T cells, iNKT cells, NK cells, macrophages.

Granted Patents or Published Applications

Licensing Opportunities

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Contact the Office of Technology Licensing (Phone: 901-595-2342, Fax: 901-595-3148) for more information.