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Vorinostat is a histone deacetylase inhibitor with epigenetic effects. 5- Azacytidine is a methylation inhibitor. In previous research, it has been shown that both drugs can result in an increase in gene expression. The goal of our experiments was to see if Vorinostat and/or 5-Azacytidine could upregulate HLA expression without upregulating PD-L1 expression. While an increase in HLA expression would be beneficial for immune cells to kill cancer cells, an increase in PD-L1 expression would be detrimental because it prevents the activation of T cells, thereby allowing cancer cells to evade the immune response. To demonstrate the effects of Vorinostat and 5- Azacytidine on cancer cells, we conducted flow cytometry experiments on the MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cell lines, two breast cancer cell lines. For Vorinostat, the initial results indicated that HLA expression for both cancer cell lines unexpectedly decreased while the PD-L1 expression remained unchanged. For 5-Azacytidine, MCF-7 cells showed an increase in HLA expression with no change in PD-L1 while MDA-MB-231 cells showed no change in HLA or PD-L1 expression. Experiments are planned to modify the concentration of the drug used and to test other epigenetic modifiers of gene expression.

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