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The Cancer Epigenetics program at Fox Chase Caner Center focuses on understanding the role of epigenetic deregulation in cancer and exploiting the information to improve outcomes in patients with various malignancies. The program builds on strong expertise and track record at Temple Health and Fox Chase and will also interact with existing and newly proposed programs.
Deciphering the epigenome
Using state of the art technology and patient samples collected through the FCCC tissue core, several program members plan to profile DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNA expression across different malignancies and pre-neoplastic conditions. The information will be related to biological features of importance to FCCC programs, and will also be used for translational studies, from understanding cancer etiology (interaction with the population sciences program) to cancer classification for prognostic and predictive purposes.
Read more about the Cancer Epigenetics program Co-leader, Jean-Pierre Issa, MD »
Understanding the readers and writers of epigenetic information.
The proteins responsible for establishing, maintaining and interpreting epigenetic signals are of paramount importance to cancer, with many of them affected by mutations in specific malignancies. Several investigators in this program are focusing on understanding the regulation and function of these epigenetic regulators, including proteins such as DNMTs, TETs, MYC, EZH2, CTCF etc.
Epigenetics in development and disease
There is accumulating evidence that fetal exposures and abnormal development affect the risk of adult diseases, and the fetal origin of adult disease (FOAD) is emerging as one of the most interesting new fields in cancer etiology. Investigators in this program have interest and expertise in multiple aspects of the problem, from stem cell health to normal development to imprinting to FOAD. These basic investigations will benefit greatly from interactions with other investigators in the program and also will interact with other relevant programs, such as population sciences.
Targeting epigenetics for cancer therapy is now a reality, with four FDA approved drugs in this class. Investigators in this program have a wide range of interest and studies in this area, from basic science investigations on the mechanism of action of epigenetic drugs, to clinical trials of existing and new epigenetic drugs alone or in combination. These investigators will also interact with other programs at FCCC to develop new treatments and new clinical trials in malignancies.