Prevention of Head and Neck Cancer Using Rapamycin and Its Analogs

It is frequently observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a cancer occurring mostly in the mouth, that the Akt/mTOR pathway is abnormally activated. Therefore, inhibiting this signaling pathway may help in treating this disease. Rapamycin and its analogs are known to inhibit the activity of mTOR so in principle they could serve as therapeutics for treating HNSCC.

Researchers at the NIH have developed a method of potentially preventing or treating HNSCC through the inhibition of mTOR activity. The proof of this principle was demonstrated by rapid regression of mouth tumors in mice afflicted with Cowden syndrome with the administration of rapamycin. Like HNSCC, development of this disease is linked to over activation of the Akt/mTOR pathway. Furthermore, the therapeutic potential of rapamycin was demonstrated using mice in experiments that model chronic exposure to tobacco, which promotes the development of HNSCC. Therefore, inhibitors of mTOR have considerable potential in the prevention and treatment of HNSCC.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Preventing the development of oral cancer using mTOR inhibitors to halt progression of pre-cancerous lesions.

Development Stage:
Pre-clinical proof of principle

Related Invention(s):


J Silvio Gutkind (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Vyomesh Patel (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Alfredo Molinolo (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Panomwat Amornphimoltham (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Rakefet Czerninski (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: - issued -
US Application No. 13/059,335 filed on 2011-05-04
PCT Application No. PCT/US2009/54478 filed on 2009-08-20
Related international filings

Squarize CH, et al. PMID 18757421
Czerninski R, et al. PMID 19139015
Raimondi AR, et al. PMID 19435901

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize this technology. Please contact David W. Bradley, Ph.D. at for more information.

Licensing Contact:
Vladimir Knezevic, M.D.
Phone: 301.443.5560

OTT Reference No: E-302-2008-0
Updated: May 8, 2018