Categories | Inventors

Regulation of Exocrine Gland Function by Modulation of Melanocortin-5 Receptor (MC5-R) Activity


OHSU # 0387-A


Technology Overview

MC5-R is responsive to all melanocortins at physiological levels except g-MSH. The MC5-R is found in a wide range of tissues from skeletal muscle, to adipose tissues, brain, lung, adrenal and stomach. The present invention relates to the cloning, expression and functional characterization of mammalian melanocortin receptor genes, particularly mammalian MC5-R receptor genes, and most preferably human MC5-R receptor genes. The invention provides methods for identifying and producing naturally-occurring and synthetic agonists and antagonists specific for the MC5-R receptor gene for the treatment, control, amelioration and alleviation of diseases, dysfunctional and abnormal states related to thermoregulatory disorders and diseases, and for exocrine gland-related disorders, including lacrimal gland dysfunction and sebaceous gland disorders including acne and other skin problems.

Market Summary

Close to 100% of people between the ages of twelve and seventeen have at least an occasional whitehead, blackhead or pimple, regardless of race or ethnicity. Many of these young people are able to manage their acne with over-the-counter (nonprescription) treatments. For some, however, acne is more serious. In fact, by their mid-teens, more than 40% of adolescents have acne severe enough to require some treatment by a physician. The prescription acne market is estimated at around $2.5-3Billion a year. Symptoms associated with Dry Eye Syndrome, a lacrimal gland disorder, account for up to 40% of all ophthalmologist visits.

The disease affects some 10 million patients in North America and Europe. A sub-segment of patients are affected by Sjogren's syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease affecting typically the eye (dry eye), epithelial tissues in the mouth (dry mouth) and joints; Sjogren's affects at least 1% of the population.

Inventor Profiles

Roger Cone earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985. He received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Princeton University. Starting in 1985, Cone was a fellow at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1988, he became an assistant professor in the Division of Molecular Medicine at the New England Medical Center, where he remained until he accepted his appointment to the Vollum in 1990. Cone moved to Vanderbilt University in 2008 and is the Chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

Wenbiao Chen received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at OHSU in 1997. He holds a B.S. from Hunan Normal University and a M.S. from Washington State University. He did four years of postdoctoral research in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research and was appointed as an assistant scientist in the Vollum Institute in 2001.

Malcolm Low received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tufts University in 1987. He earned his B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his M.D. from Albany Medical College. He did an internship and residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and then spent three years as a clinical and research fellow in Neuroendocrinology at the New England Medical Center. From 1985 to 1989, Low held concurrent positions on the faculty at Tufts and as a physician at the Medical Center. He came to the Vollum Institute in 1990 and was promoted to scientist in 1994. He holds a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience in the School of Medicine and is a founding member of the newly created Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at OHSU.

Patent Status

Issued United States patent 6,278,038


Cell. 1997 Dec 12;91(6):789-98

Licensing Opportunity

The patent rights under OHSU 387 are available for non-exclusive or exclusive licensing.


Related Technologies:

  • OHSU # 0244 — Mammalian Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone Receptors and Uses (MC1)
  • OHSU # 0245 — Mammalian Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Receptors and Uses (MC2)
  • OHSU # 0264 — Mammalian Melanocortin Receptors and Uses (MC3)
  • OHSU # 0367 — Methods and Reagents for Using Mammalian Melanocortin Receptor Agonists and Antagonists to Modulate Feeding Behavior in Animals (MC3&4)
  • OHSU # 0387-B — MC5-R Knockout mice


For more information, contact:

Robert Copenhaver
Technology Development Manager