Cancer preventative for at risk individuals

An approach to prevent cancers through blocking the transcription factor STAT3 that leads to an 80% tumor reduction in a mouse model of disease.
Technology No. 20180312
IP Status: Pending US Patent; Application #: 17/042,708


  • Chemopreventive following exposure to carcinogen
  • Cancer prophylaxis for high risk individuals
  • Basic research on molecular pathways involved in various cancers

Key Benefits & Differentiators

  • Cancer preventative: Blocking STAT3 reduces in the formation of tumors by 80% in a mouse model of disease following exposure to a carcinogen.
  • Applicable to many cancers: Potentially effective against all STAT3 associated cancers, which includes a high percentage of solid state tumors, the most common type of cancer.
  • No known toxicity: Repeated dosing in mice has resulted in no observable toxicity (including immunocompromised animals).

A preventative approach to cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and with solid tumors occurring most commonly (e.g. lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers). Due to high variability of the cancers and patients, treatments are often complex and not uniformly effective. As an alternative to treatment, researchers at the University of Minnesota developed an approach to prevent cancer through inhibiting the transcription factor STAT3, which is activated in a high percentage of solid tumors. STAT3 blockers could be introduced to individuals predisposed to cancer (due to family history, previous occurence of cancer, genetic conditions, etc), or those that are exposed to carcinogenic factors (asbestos, tobacco smoke, chemotherapeutics, radiation, etc).

80% cancer reduction in a mouse model

Although STAT3 has been implicated in cancer incidence for some time, attempts to use STAT3 blockers to treat existing cancer have unfortunately been unsuccessful. The lab of Dr.Jill Siegfried found that preventative administration of a STAT3 blocker following tobacco carcinogen exposure, reduced the occurrence of lung carcinomas by over 80% in a mouse model of disease. While many STAT3 blockers tested have shown low biological activity in patients and high toxicity, Siegfried narrowed in on an oligonucleotide based molecule that shows no detectable toxicity after repeat dosing in mice (even when immunocompromised), is highly active, and prevents lung cancer formation at relatively low doses. Expanding on these findings has the potential to yield a chemopreventive agent for patients at elevated risk for development of STAT3 associated cancers.

Phase of Development

Mouse studies showing that STAT3 blocker has no observable toxicity and reduces tumor formation in mice exposed to a tobacco carcinogen. 


Jill Siegfried, PhD
Professor & Head, Dept. of Pharmacology
External Link (

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  • Sponsored research
  • Co-development

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