"In our lab, we found that when you gave it to the mice model of bladder cancer, the tumors go away, and they're infiltrated with immune cells," says Joshua J. Meeks, MD, PhD.
In this video, Joshua J. Meeks, MD, PhD, discusses the background of a pilot study on tazemetostat and pembrolizumab in advanced urothelial carcinoma. The data were presented at the 2023 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California. Meeks is the Edward M. Schaeffer, MD, PhD Professor of Urology and Associate Professor of Urology and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.
So this is a study, it's near and dear to my heart. That's a study that's come through the ETCTN network. Maha Hussain is the PI. It really came from our laboratory. We worked in the mouse model and identified that there's an imbalance in chromatin regulation, suggesting that EZH2 may have greater activity in bladder cancer.
The best drug for this comes from Epizyme, that's tazemetostat. It's a enzymatic inhibitor of EZH2. In our lab, we found that when you gave it to the mice model of bladder cancer, the tumors go away, and they're infiltrated with immune cells. Some of that may be some reprogramming that suggests that the tumor actually is becoming an antigen presenting cell.
This work led to this phase 1/2 trial, and this is really Maha carrying this forward and doing this in a national network. [This is] one of the first real epigenetic therapies trying to reprogram bladder cancer, and our hope is that this is something that could potentially come forward and be applied throughout different phases of bladder cancer. It's with pembrolizumab, small cohort, and again, these are the platinum treated cohort. The data looks promising in that setting, so we'd love to see how it would potentially do in other environments. Epizyme has been acquired by Ipsen so there may be more life to this program now.
This transcription has been edited for clarity.