• Targeted anti-cancer therapy for advanced bladder cancers
  • Validated target
  • Potential for early and efficient cancer detection


Bladder cancer is a common form of cancer, which progresses by spreading into surrounding muscle. This advanced stage, called muscleinvasive bladder cancer (MIBC), is associated with poor prognosis due to a lack of effective treatment options.

Currently, treatment is restricted to the surgical removal of cancerous tissue combined with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, which are both associated with severe side-effects as they affect both cancerous and noncancerous cells. In addition, determining the appropriate therapeutic regime for bladder cancers is hampered by a lack of accurate imaging technology.

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) use the specificity of antibodies to target only cancerous cells with a therapeutic agent. We are therefore developing a targeted ADC for MIBC.


The interleukin-5 receptor (IL5-Rα) has been validated as a biomarker of advancing bladder cancer. Therefore, cells expressing IL5-Rα can be targeted by ADCs for imaging and treatment respectively.

We have developed a monoclonal antibody (mAb), which can be conjugated with either a chemotherapeutic agent or a radioligand. In addition these mAb-conjugates have been packaged with additional structural technology for enhanced cellular accumulation in IL5-Rα (CD125)-positive MIBC cells.

We have validated the target for expression and internalisation and shown that the ADC is efficacious in human cancer cells. A radiolabelled Immunoconjugate (RIC) has also been generated that could be used for diagnostic purposes to accurately determine the extent of the cancer prior to undertaking a treatment plan.

Potential markets

The technology has use in the cancer therapeutic and diagnostic fields.

IP status

The technology is protected by PCT application CA 2018/050303

Partnering opportunities

UniSA Ventures is seeking partners for licensing and co-development opportunities.