Ready for Transfer

NIH’s Use of the TP5 Peptide to Treat Cancer

Dept. of Health and Human Services

Laboratory: National Institutes of Health, Neuro-Oncology Branch

Technology: Use of the TP5 Peptide to Treat Cancer

Opportunity: The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Neuro-Oncology Branch is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in licensing this invention to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize TP5 for novel treatment of GBM and/or other cancers with aberrant CDK5 expression.

Details: GBM is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The current standard of care against GBM is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, after standard treatment, the cancer usually recurs, emphasizing a need for new targets and better alternatives. One promising target is cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5), the hyperactivity of which has been shown to have a role in cancer progression. 

TP5/TFP5, a small peptide inhibitor against CDK5, was developed at NIH and modified to increase its passage through the blood-brain barrier. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke demonstrated that TP5 decreases cell viability and increases programmed cell death in GBM and CRC cell lines with aberrant CDK5 activity. TP5 was found to impair DNA repair by inhibiting CDK5, and acted additively and synergistically with DNA-damaging agents (e.g., temozolomide, irinotecan, irradiation) used to treat GBM and colon carcinoma. TP5 decreased the tumor volume and increased the overall survival of orthotopic glioblastoma mouse models.



  • Decreases the tumor volume and the proliferation rate of GBM in mouse models
  • Can cross the blood-brain barrier, overcoming a major obstacle for the therapeutic agent development for GBM
  • Decreases the tumor volume in CRC mouse models
  • Additive as well as synergistic with the current standard of care


  • CDK5 expression and activity are deregulated in cancer cells; because CDK5 is not a tumor-associated mutation, the role of CDK5 in cancer has been underappreciated until recently—meaning less competition
  • Roscovitine, another CDK inhibitor, was shown to delay resistance to temozolomide, the only approved drug for GBM


  • Treatment of GBM and other brain tumors with aberrant CDK5 expression
  • Treatment of other cancers with aberrant CDK5 expression, including CRC and lung cancer
  • The GBM market is expected to grow to >US $1B at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%
  • The CRC market has risen to >US $8B at a CAGR of 3%

Contact: For more information on this novel cancer treatment method, contact John Hewes, Ph.D., at

To view the original technology listing on the NIH website, visit