Transformable Smart Peptides as Cancer Therapeutics

Tech ID: 32677 / UC Case 2019-799-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed smart, supramolecular, materials that can assemble into nanoparticles. These particles can then be used to target tumor cells.

Full Description

Immunotherapy orchestrates the body’s own immune system to target and eradicate cancer cells - which may result in durable, anti-tumor, responses and reduce metastasis and recurrence. As such, immunotherapy is a promising cancer management strategy. Currently, peptides-based materials are an excellent candidate for cancer immunotherapy, based on their easy modification, effectiveness and ability to penetrate tissues while triggering minimal immune responses. However, peptides have specific properties that can limit scientific and commercial interest in using peptides as a cancer therapy (compared to small molecule therapies). Thus, there is a need to improve peptide-based immunotherapy delivery systems before they will reach widespread clinical acceptance.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed smart, peptide-based, supramolecular materials that can assemble into nanoparticles, followed by their in-situ transformation into nanofibrillar structures. These structures can then effectively spread and securely bind to tumor cells. This technology is comprised of three motifs: a hydrophobic fluorescence tracer signal or drug unit, a functional peptide; and a targeting ligand to bind to tumor-associated integrins. The fibrillary network formation allows prolonged retention time in the tumor and better binding efficiency – thus increasing therapeutic efficacy.


  • Immunotherapy for cancer


  • Customizable by changing two of the three chemical motifs 
  • Prolonged retention at tumor site

Patent Status

Patent Pending

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  • Lam, Kit S.
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Other Information


nanoparticles, peptide, immunotherapy, cancer, ligand, tumor cells

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