Arkansas Patent of the Month – February 2023

The immune system is an essential player in the fight against cancer. It is designed to monitor for and eliminate cancerous cells; but sometimes cancer can escape the proper immunosurveillance. Metastatic cancer is a tumor that has spread beyond its original location, making it a particularly challenging form of cancer to treat.

Recent developments in immunotherapy have made great strides in treating cancer, particularly melanoma. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1, have shown remarkable results in a subset of metastatic cancer patients. These therapies block the immune-inhibitory receptors on activated T-cells, thus amplifying the immune response.

However, even when used in combination, approximately half of patients still suffer from disease progression, as these therapies do not work for everyone. It is currently impossible to predict which patients will respond to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, and this remains a major challenge in the field of cancer research.

Researchers of BioVentures, LLC are now developing new methods for predicting the responsiveness of a cancer to immunotherapy. The methods involve obtaining a tumor sample from a subject and measuring the expression level of specific biomarkers in the sample such as  H3K27me3 or one of 106 other identified proteins.

Based on the expression level of these biomarkers, the treatment dosage can be adjusted. For instance, if a sample proves particularly resistant to treatment, the treatment can be increased. If the sample shows a good responsiveness, they can safely move forward with treatment using that immunotherapeutic agent. The goal of these methods is to tailor cancer treatment to the individual patient, making it more effective and efficient.

BioVentures was established as a formal outgrowth of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences‘ (UAMS) interest in promoting a biomedical technology industry for Arkansas and translating its research into products that benefit human health. UAMS established BioVentures to maximize global, industrial interaction with the University of Arkansas faculty, as well as to facilitate technology transfer, the development of startup companies that are based on technology developed at UAMS, and contributions to Arkansas’ economic development. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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Swanson Reed is one of the U.S.’ largest Specialist R&D tax advisory firms. We manage all facets of the R&D tax credit program, from claim preparation and audit compliance to claim disputes.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE and CPE credits for CPAs. For more information please visit us at or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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