Chamie Research

Karim Chamie, MD, MSHS

Karim Chamie, MD, MSHS

Associate Professor
UCLA Department of Urology

Director, IUO Bladder Cancer Program
Director, IUO Fellowship Program
Director, Urologic Oncology Fellowship Program

The Chamie Lab’s current translational research focuses on the local delivery of immunotherapy for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, as well as the investigation of opioid receptors as prognostic markers and therapeutic targets in urothelial carcinoma (UC).

Utilizing a murine orthotopic bladder cancer model, the lab is evaluating the ability of several immunotherapeutic agents to penetrate the urothelium and enter the tumor microenvironment. Tumors treated with an intravesical instillation of anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) monoclonal antibodies have been evaluated with immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry to attempt to demonstrate the presence of drug within the tumor microenvironment. Ongoing work is assessing treatment response to intravesical PD-1 inhibitors in combination with immune stimulators, such as toll-like receptor agonists, with in-vivo immunofluorescence for evaluation of tumors size, and flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry on local immune response. This work aims to inform future clinical trial design a novel drug development.

The impact of opioid drugs on cancer biology is a burgeoning area of interest in the lab. An institutional tissue microarray of urothelial carcinoma specimens was assessed for expression of the mu-opioid receptor, and demonstrated a significant inverse association between receptor expression and tumor aggressiveness. In vitro studies assessing the influence of opioid receptor agonists, and antagonists, on urothelial carcinoma cell lines are underway and preliminarily demonstrate this receptor to be a possible druggable target.

Outside the lab, Dr Chamie’s health services research group studies the quality of care delivered to patients with urologic malignancies, with a focus on bladder cancer. Recent work has evaluated the role of lymphadenectomy in patients undergoing radical cystectomy in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, management trends in the surgical treatment of upper tract urothelial carcinoma, and partial cystectomy utilization trends. With the support of a grant from the American Urological Association, this group is developing and validating a symptom questionnaire for patients undergoing intravesical treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

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