Targeting Fungi in Combination with Cancer Therapy

Tech ID: shi001011



This invention discloses methods to enhance cancer radiation therapy by modulating the gut microbiome. The inventors discovered that radiation therapy efficacy is reduced with antibiotics treatment, yet enhanced with antifungal treatment. This invention can be adopted to design new cancer treatment strategies by combining radiation and targeting the gut fungi microbiome. 


Technology Description

More than 200,000 cases of breast cancer are reported in the US each year, which accounts for more than 39,000 deaths. Radiation therapy plays an integral part in breast cancer treatment with more than half of all patients receiving it. Radiation induces anti-tumor immune response that mimics immune response to other antigens. The gut microbiome is known to regulate immune response in the gut and systemically, but the effect of the gut microbiome in radiation therapy efficacy has not been well explored.

Dr. Shiao and Dr. Underhill used mouse model to demonstrate that depleting the gut bacteria using antibiotics significantly reduced the effect of radiation therapy as shown by tumor sizes, while depleting gut fungi seemed to enhance the anti-tumor effect. The inventors further demonstrated that these effects were mediated through immune response. Interestingly, antibiotic treatment increased the fungal population and led to overrepresentation of specific fungal species, while antifungal treatment only changed the species representation. Accordingly, these discoveries suggest that radiation therapy efficacy can be significantly enhanced by targeting specific gut fungal species.



•       These findings can lead to the development of antifungal agents to enhance cancer radiation therapy; alternatively, fungal probiotics can be developed.


Intellectual Property

US utility patent 15/702,141 pending




For more information, please contact Cedars-Sinai Technology Transfer Office:


Wenyue Du, PhD

Senior Licensing Associate - IP Portfolio Management & Licensing

T: +1 310-423-2241



Song Qu, PhD

Licensing Associate – IP Portfolio Management & Licensing

T: +1 310-423-6460



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Wenyue Du
Senior Associate - IP Management & Licensing
Stephen Shiao
David Underhill