Zscan4, a Therapeutic Target for Cancer, Regenerative Medicine and Aging

This technology has broad potential for the development of therapeutics for cancer, diseases of aging, and regenerative medicine, and targets Zscan4, a gene that regulates telomere length and genomic stability in embryonic stem (ES) cells.

The ability to maintain genomic stability in ES cells and other stem cells is critical for the development of stem cell-based therapies; genomic stability and telomere length are also active areas of cancer and aging research. NIA investigators have discovered that the Zscan4 gene regulates telomere length and genomic stability in ES cells, and plays an essential role in early embryonic development; this activity is independent of telomerase activity. The investigators have shown that ablation of Zscan4 results in shortened telomere length and deterioration of the karyotype of ES cells, and that Zscan4 overexpression increases telomere length.

This technology discloses methods for increasing genome stability or increasing telomere length in an ES cell, and methods of treating a subject in need of ES cell therapy. Also disclosed are methods of promoting blastocyst outgrowth of embryonic stem cells, as well as Zscan4 expression vectors and methods of identifying stem cells expressing Zscan4.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Development of therapeutics for cancer treatment, aging, and regenerative medicine
  • Development of assisted reproduction technologies
  • Studies of early embryonic development

Development Stage:
In vitro and in vivo studies have been performed.


Minoru Ko (NIA)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
U.S. Pat: 8,617,813 issued 2013-12-31
U.S. Pat: 8,741,649 issued 2014-06-03
U.S. Pat: 9,012,223 issued 2015-04-21
PCT Application No. PCT/US2010/047644
US Application No. 13/322,800
US Application No. 13/393,456
US Application No. 14/143,568
US Application No. 14/259,600
and foreign counterparts in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan

M Zalzman et al. Zscan4 regulates telomere elongation and genomic stability in ES cells. Nature 2010 Mar 24; advance online publication doi 10.1038/nature08882
G Falco et al. Zscan4: A novel gene expressed exclusively in late 2-cell embryos and embryonic stem cells. Dev Biol. 2007 Jul 15;307(2):539-550. PubMed: 17553482

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute on Aging, Laboratory of Genetics, is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize this technology. Please contact Nicole Guyton, Ph.D. at 301-435-3101 or darackn@mail.nih.gov for more information.

Licensing Contact:
Charlotte McGuinness, Ph.D., J.D.
Email: cm432k@nih.gov
Phone: 240-276-5530

OTT Reference No: E-172-2009/0
Updated: Jun 14, 2010