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Combination Cancer Therapy with HDAC Inhibitors

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NCI researchers developed a combination therapy of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors, virus-based vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, cell-based treatments or radiopharmaceuticals. The NCI Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology seeks parties to license or co-develop this method.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • combination therapy, immunotherapy, HDAC inhibition, CTL
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

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.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Combination therapy of HDAC inhibitors, used prior to and/or in conjunction with immunotherapy agents to enhance the immunotherapy-mediated killing of cancer cells
Competitive Advantages
  • Enhances the efficacy of immunotherapy, a continually growing market and area of research
  • Many of the immunotherapy agents and HDAC inhibitors specified in this technology are in advanced stages of clinical trials, and have proven to be clinically effective as monotherapy and/or in combination therapy



James W. Hodge (NCI), Sofia R. Gameiro (NCI)

Development Stage

Sofia R. Gameiro et al.  [PMID: 26862729]

Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 62/274,946, Filed 05 Jan 2016
  • Foreign Filed: Foreign Filed - Patent Application PCT/US2017/012149, Filed 04 Jan 2017
Therapeutic Area
Tuesday, April 3, 2018