Improving immune checkpoint therapies for cancer by inhibiting the PCSK9 protein

Value Proposition

Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies are exciting new drugs for treatment of cancers. Despite their efficacy for certain cancers, immune checkpoint inhibitors only effective in 10-30% of cancer patients. Because of this, there is an urgent need to find additional molecular targets to act in synergy with immune checkpoint inhibitors to increase the patient population that can benefit from this line of treatment.


Duke inventors Drs. Chuan-Yuan Li and Xinjian Liu have uncovered a new use for PCSK9 inhibitors, an existing class of on-patent, FDA-approved drugs, that have a synergistic anti-cancer effect when combined with immune checkpoint therapy.


  • Increased tumor susceptibility to checkpoint inhibitor treatments
  • Significant, durable effects across a variety of tumor cell lines
  • PCSK9 inhibitors are on market and have a known safety profile
  • Has the potential to increase the number of patients who will benefit from the checkpoint inhibitor class of cancer immunotherapy
antibody image

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Li, Chuan-Yuan
  • Bao, Xuhui
  • Liu, Xinjian

For more information please contact


School of Medicine (SOM)