Treatment of Mast Cell Related Disorders

Isis Project No 3566 CRAC channel blockers provide a novel therapeutic strategy for treating allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis.

Marketing Opportunity
Allergy is characterised by an inflammatory response to seemingly harmless substances and it is likely that one in three people will suffer from the condition during their lifetime. Mast cells are pivotal to this inflammatory response. Indeed, aberrant mast cell activation is linked to a variety of allergic diseases including nasal polyposis, eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis. In any one year it is estimated that 12 million people in the UK, or one fifth of the population, will be receiving treatment for allergy.

The Oxford Invention
Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified the key players in the biochemical pathway that underlies allergy and how they interact with one another. Essentially this involves a positive feedback loop between calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels and cysteinyl leukotrienes. Leukotrienes secreted by a single activated mast cell bind to their receptors on adjacent resting mast cells. This evokes calcium signalling in the resting mast cells as CRAC channels open in the plasma membrane and calcium enters the cells. The influx of calcium stimulates the production and secretion of further leukotrienes, which not only perpetuates the cascade but also sustains the allergic response. This provides a novel therapeutic strategy that relies on a combination approach to target two distinct, but interdependent proteins, the CRAC channel and the leukotriene receptor. The synergistic effect of using a CRAC channel blocker and a leukotriene receptor antagonist will enable effective treatment for allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis at a lower drug dosage accompanied by reduced side effects. Because CRAC channels are downstream of allergen binding, they represent a common point for all allergens. Unlike current treatments, targeting the channels would therefore be an effective therapy against a range of distinct allergens.

Patent Status
This technology is the subject of an international patent application, and Isis would like to talk to companies interested in developing the commercial opportunity that this represents. Please contact the Isis Project Manager to discuss this further.

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Type of Offer: Licensing

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