Using GCNF Ligands to Increase the Efficacy of Cancer Therapeutics

SLU ID 19-014 | Ligand Binding Domain of Germ Cell Nuclear Factor

Intellectual Property Status


  • Patentability under review
  • Proprietary non-patented intellectual property
  • Know-how based
  • Licensee
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Investment
  • University spin out


Germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF), also known as RTR or NR6A1, is an orphan NR involved in regulating early embryonic development and reproduction. In embryonic stem (ES) cells, GCNF is a positive determinant of pluripotency being downregulated by the differentiating agent, all trans retinoic acid (RA). In adults, GCNF mRNA tissue specific expression is limited to ovary and testis. Mammary glands contain very low amounts of GCNF, which are generally upregulated in breast cancer. This suggests that NR6A1 may be endowed with oncogenic properties in breast cancer. Furthermore, human Cripto-1 (CR-1), which plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of human cancer, is suppressed by GCNF in embryonal carcinoma cells and in breast cancer cells.


Researchers at Saint Louis University have identified specific ligands of GCNF that are potentially useful as cancer therapeutics or the maintenance of induces pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).


The potential advantages of this technology over existing solutions include:

  • Increasing the efficacy of cancer therapeutics.


Potential applications of this technology include:

  • Developing new cancer therapeutics.


Saint Louis University is seeking partners to further develop and commercialize this technology.


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