Available Technologies

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Treating melanoma with CAR-T cells

This invention describes construction and initial functional testing of engineered chimeric antigen receptors transduced into human T-cells (CAR-T cells) for selective killing of melanocytes and melanoma cells. 

Technology Overview: 

Invasive melanoma is the most lethal and costly skin cancer with over 75,000 new cases and 10,000 deaths per year in the U.S with more than one life claimed every hour. Over the past few years, immunotherapies that target common genetic mutations has dramatically changed the landscape of melanoma treatment but some patients with advanced metastatic melanoma still have a significant risk of mortality. New therapeutic approaches are needed.

Dr. Ridky proposes a CAR-T cell based technology to selective killing of melanocytes. These CARs do not target uveal melanocytes. Killing of melanoma cells and melanocytes, with little to no killing of human fibroblasts using these engineered CAR T-cells was shown in vitro as well as in vivo in NSG mice. But melanocytes are dispensable. 


  • Would circumvent relapse seen with check point inhibitors and other forms of treatment for melanoma.
  • Offers selective killing of melanoma cells and melanocytes with little toxicity on other cells types.


  • CAR T-cell based treatment is an option to treat invasive melanoma as it causes regression of the tumor by selectively killing melanoma cells and melanocytes.
  • Can provide an alternative treatment for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma and for patients on whom immunotherapy/check point inhibitors does not work.


Stage of Development: 

Killing of melanoma cells and melanocytes in vitro and in in vivo in NSG mice.

Intellectual Property: 

PCT Pending

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Docket # 17-8000

For Information, Contact:

Viviane Martin
University of Pennsylvania