WARF: P09152US02

Borane-Protected Phosphine Molecules Save Cells from Death and Damage


Leonard Levin, Yun Luo

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing compounds that prevent or treat disorders relating to cell death, particularly neuronal and endothelial cell death.
OVERVIEWRedox-dependent signaling of cell death is a final pathway common to many conditions and diseases, including several neurodegenerative disorders and ophthalmological disorders like glaucoma.  Protecting cells from downstream oxidative signaling of cell death could provide a method for preventing or treating these disorders. 

This cell death pathway also is common to tissue injured by radiation. Relatively few available treatments are radioprotective, i.e., they are effective when administered at or before the time of radiation exposure. Such therapies would be useful in the radiation treatment of cancer.  In addition, treatments that are effective when administered after exposure would be beneficial for situations where radiation occurs accidentally or unexpectedly. Currently, few such radiomitigative treatments are available.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a method for protecting cells from neurodegenerative injury, radiation damage and other causes of cell death.  The method involves exposing neuronal, endothelial or other mammalian cells to one or more of several borane-protected phosphine molecules created by the researchers.  These protective molecules have good cell permeability and chemical stability and are useful for treating or preventing cell-death related diseases and conditions in human and non-human animals.
  • Protecting cells from cell death
  • Protecting cells from radiation damage
  • Treating cell death-related diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease; conditions induced under ischemia or excitotoxicity; and diseases resulting from nervous system trauma, inflammation or infection, among others
  • Preventing further loss of vision in individuals with disorders such as glaucoma
  • Enhancing survival and viability of tissue used in transplants
  • Protecting cells from oxidative damage
  • Cells are protected in vivo and in vitro.
  • Compounds can be administered before, during or after radiation exposure.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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