Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are primarily involved in removing acetyl groups from the so-called histones and thereby affect how our genes are stored and activated in the cell nucleus. Some HDACs also affect the cell function outside the cell nucleus. HDAC6 belongs to this group of HDACs with a major biological role in the regulation of the cancer cell´s ability to migrate and to form metastases.
The use of HDAC inhibitors in the treatment of cancer patients has so far yielded promising results, but has been limited due to severe side effects. For this reason, the pharmaceutical industry is now looking for more selective inhibitors of individual HDAC enzymes. Kancera´s discovery of selective HDAC6 inhibitors may provide a solution on how health care could take advantage of the anti-cancer effects of HDAC inhibitors without causing the patient severe side effects.