Hox B4

Case ID:

This invention is a novel therapy for cancer using Hox B4 to induce apoptosis in leukemia cell lines.


Background & Unmet Need:

B‑cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in adults.  The B cells grow uncontrollably and invade the bone marrow and blood where they crowd out the healthy cells.  There is a need to find therapies that can stop this uncontrollable growth.  Homeobox B4 (Hox B4) is a protein that is involved in development.  Expression of this protein expands hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in vivo and in vitro, making Hox B4 a potential candidate for therapeutic stem cell expansion.  


Technology Description:

WSU researchers have developed a novel therapy which causes hematological leukemia cell lines to undergo apoptosis based on a newly discovered apoptotic effect of Hox B4.  Investigators have shown effectiveness in several cell lines including pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia, diffuse large cell lymphoma follicular small cleaved cell lymphoma, and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia.  Collectively these cell lines cover almost the entire phenotypic spectrum of B-cell malignancies.  Continuing research will focus on showing the effects of this protein on cancer cells via an intravenous administration route.


Commercial Applications:

ยท         Cancer therapeutic


Stage of Development:



Competitive Advantages:

  • Hox B4 considered an ideal chemotherapeutic agent because it causes hematopoietic stem cells to proliferate and cancer cells to die


Intellectual Property Status:

No patent information available


Related Publications or Citations of Work:



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joan Dunbar
Associate Vice President for Technology Commercialization
Wayne State University
(313) 577-5542
Kamal Mubarak
Ramzi Mohammad
Robert Pauley
Larry Tait