Companion Diagnostic That Predicts Therapeutic Response to Hedgehog Inhibitors

Technology #ua14-165

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Nadia Hassounah
Graduate Student
Kimberly Mcdermott
Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Managed By
Lisa Lin
Licensing Manager (520) 626-6969

Background: The hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway drives tumor cell survival in many types of cancer, including, but not limited to, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, and medulloblastoma. As of 2008, lung cancer in particular was the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. NSCLC accounts for ~80% of lung cancer worldwide, and ~50% of NSCLC cancers are characterized by abnormal hedgehog pathway activity. The hedgehog pathway is thus of tremendous interest in cancer treatment development. Currently, vismodegib (Erivedge®) is the only FDA approved drug that targets the hedgehog pathway. However, patient response to vismodegib is highly heterogenous and unpredictable. Development of a companion diagnostic for use with vidmodegib treatment is thus desperately needed, particularly given the hedgehog pathway’s involvement in such a large number of cancer cases.


Invention: This technology is a companion diagnostic test for selecting patients to be treated with vismodegib and other inhibitor targeting the hedgehog pathway. It predicts a patient’s response to treatment with vismodegib or other hedgehog-targeting drugs through a genetic testing on their cancer cells.


Applications: This invention may be used as a companion diagnostic for cancer patients receiving treatment targeting the hedgehog pathway (currently, vismodegib). It may also be of use in research of the hedgehog signaling pathway.


Advantages: Current methods are incapable of accurately predicting an individual’s response to treatment with vismodegib or other possible hedgehog-targeted drugs in development. This companion diagnostic test will predict the efficacy of vismodegib treatment for each individual patient. 


Lead Inventor: Kimberly McDermott


Licensing Manager: Lisa Lin



UAID: UA14-165