The clinical promise of cancer immunotherapy relies on the premise that the immune system can recognize and eliminate tumor cells identified as non-self. The success of cancer immunotherapy is limited by tumor immune evasion, preventing long-lasting tumor control. Recent evidence suggests that certain anticancer therapies can alter the biology of the surviving cell population to restore their sensitivity to T-cell-mediated lysis and help treat patients.
Researchers at the NCI Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology developed a method of reducing cancer cell growth by treating cancer cells with a combination of a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor and immunotherapy. Administration of HDAC inhibitors prior to or in combination with immunotherapy, results in an overall enhancement of the anti-cancerous effect of immunotherapy. Additionally, the undescribed activity of HDAC inhibitor drugs used in this method results in increased sensitivity of cancer cells to cytotoxic T-cells (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells. This technology addresses the unmet clinical need to develop effective therapeutic strategies that can restore tumor immune recognition when combined with immunotherapy in patients with solid tumors.
The National Cancer Institute seeks parties interested in licensing or collaborative research to co-develop, evaluate or commercialize this method of a combination therapy of HDAC inhibitors and immunotherapy.