Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a drug that enhances an immune-based treatment for cancer. Dr. Robert Prins, associate professor of neurosurgery and molecular and medical pharmacology and Dominique Lisiero, a PhD student in the Prins laboratory, led the research.
The study was published in the April edition of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer.
The treatment uses transplantation of T cells, the foot soldiers of the immune system, in a process called T cell adoptive transfer, that are trained specifically to attack cancer cells transplanted into animals. The new drug, a histone deacetylase inhibitor called LBH589 (generic name: panobinostat), was found to enhance the activity of the T cells and of the immune system's inflammatory response in mice, giving a boost to the treatment's tumor-shrinking effect.
With the drug, the transferred T cells multiplied faster, survived longer and rejected the established cancer more efficiently.
"The stage is now set for the drug to move forward into clinical trials where it has potential to enhance adoptive T cell transfer and dendritic cell vaccine immunotherapy, both of which are already being used in cancer patients," Prins said.
Study: The histone deacetylase inhibitor, LBH589, promotes the systemic cytokine and effector responses of adoptively transferred CD8+ T cells, Dominique N Lisiero1, Horacio Soto2, Richard G Everson23, Linda M Liau234 and Robert M Prins, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, DOI:10.1186/2051-1426-2-8, published 15 April 2014.