Epigenetics in Cancer                                                                                 

Up until recently, people use to think that cancer in humans were actual genetic mutations: as in the genes themselves become abnormally modified. Although it is a relatively new field, the understanding of Epigenetics on a molecular level could help us understand better why cancers arise and why some (cancers) may respond better to certain types of therapies: whether it be that some drugs or some types of therapies work better for genetically damaged cancers, while others work better for epigenetically damaged cancers. (Citation-4)

"It’s one of the hottest areas of basic biology," said Paul Workman Ph.D., director of cancer therapeutics at Cancer Research U.K. in Sutton, England.Workman said he believes that epigenetic gene silencing is as much a driving force in cancer as genetic mutation. "This is just a major, major way in which tumors turn off genes they don’t want expressed," he said. (Citation-5)

Epigenetic mechanisms (such as DNA methylation and histone modification) result in the silencing of genes without a change in their original coding sequence. Disruption in the balance of these mechanisms can lead to major pathologies, including cancer. The development of diagnostic tools will surely reveal other diseases caused by epigenetic alterations. (Citation-6)

If we are able to identify and exploit our knowledge of epigenetics towards cancer, cures will surely be made left and right. Great potential lies in the field of Epigenetics, and there is already a huge amount of competition amongst Biotech companies.

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