20 September 2019

Irish scientists have unveiled new discoveries about the EZH2 molecule, which has become a key target for new lymphoma treatments. The researchers at Trinity College Dublin say their findings could provide new targets for drugs.

EZH2 inhibitors such as tazemetostat are showing promise in clinical trials for lymphoma. However, evidence suggests that resistance can develop, which means that alternative treatments will be needed for some patients.

The research team say they have now found ‘accessory components’ that are needed by EZH2 to target activity on key regions in the genome. These components could also be “very promising” targets for drugs, the researchers say.

The findings, published in the journal Molecular Cell, emerged from scientific studies of ‘Polycomb’ genes, which include EZH2.

Professor Adrian Bracken, who led the research, said: “This new discovery was driven purely by our curiosity to understand how Polycombs regulate cellular identity, but we also anticipate that it will lead to new opportunities to develop alternative treatments for patients with cancers driven by mutations in EZH2 and its related genes.”

Source: Healy, E., Mucha, M., Glancy, E., Fitzpatrick, D.J., Conway, E., Neikes, H.K., Monger, C., Van Mierlo, G., Baltissen, M.P., Koseki, Y., Vermeulen, M., Koseki, H., Bracken, A.P. (2019) “PRC2.1 and PRC2.2 Synergize to Coordinate H3K27 Trimethylation”, Molecular Cell, available from doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.08.012   


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