IGF-Trap: An engineered biological for cancer treatment


Published: 11Oct2019

Invention 12042

IGF-Trap: An engineered biological for cancer treatment


A fusion protein that targets IGF ligands for primary and metastatic cancer treatment has been developed at McGill University.


Market Need

At each stage of cancer progression, insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is believed to play a role in tumor growth. IGF-1 receptor and its binding ligands IGF-1 and IGF-2 are therefore important clinical targets for cancer cell transformation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and tumor environment regulation. Several drugs targeting IGF receptors have advanced to clinical trials, but their clinical use has been blocked in part by interference with insulin receptor signaling. As previously unsuccessful studies have targeted the receptor, a new therapeutic strategy with a class of drugs that targets the ligands are currently being tested.


Technology Summary

This technology is an engineered biological that blocks the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis for the treatment of primary cancer and metastasis. This fusion protein, called the IGF-Trap, acts as a trap in the bloodstream by capturing the natural ligands of IGF receptor while having a 1000-fold lower affinity for insulin. This technology has also been confirmed in vivo and in vitro to promote anti-angiogenesis, apoptosis, and reduces cancer cell mobility in multiple therapeutic cancer models. Since IGF receptors and ligands are associated with several common cancers (including colon, lung, prostate, and breast cancer), this biological inhibitor can be pursued for multiple cancer therapies.



  • A cell line that produces IGF-Trap is available for scale-up
  • In vitro efficacy of IGF-Trap confirmed in cancerous cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and invasion assays


Patent Status

Issued EP, filed US

Contact Information

Sylvie Toulmond
Innovation and Partnerships
sylvie.toulmond [at] mcgill.ca
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