Epigenetics is the study of potentially inheritable gene expression that does not involve any changes to the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic change is natural and common, but can be brought on by changes in environment, age, lifestyle, etc. Epigenetic modifications are seen as cells terminally differentiate and end up as skin cells, brain cells, or even liver cells. Epigenetics is a constant battle between active and inactive genes. If one were to overtake the other, it would alter the equilibrium in a persons body, potentially causing cancer.
Scientists are now claiming that once they have a better understanding of epigenetics and the factors which cause the cancer, they will be able to design drugs to counter this loss of equilibrium. Recent data identified an epigenetic “writer” called methyltransferase EZH2. It’s been linked to several types of cancer including melanomas and lymphomas. They’ve also identified and epigenetic “eraser”, KDM3A, which takes on an oncogenetic role and activates tumor promoting genes in the body. Epigenomic changes also contribute to cancer’s ability to go undetected in the human immune system.
Using this information, researchers may have found the right pathway for drug targeting. Metabolites and epigenetics are tightly connected and rely on each other to stay in equilibrium. In addition, there is a strong cooperation of epigenetic factors with the transcriptional complex. Now, researchers are looking into finding a way to us this connection to suppress tumor causing epigentics, and amplify those that fight cancer.
Fabian V. Filipp, the author of the paper, states, “There is an intriguing crosstalk between metabolism and epigenetics… With both fields maturing, further synergy between epigenetic and metabolomics may deliver new therapeutic agents.”
This research is incredibly interesting because of its newness. Each day, new informatoin and research is being found in the field of epigenetics. What I would’ve liked to learn in this article is how they plan to use the metabolites to battle the cancerous cells, and in what way they would be administered. Each day we get closer to the answers. The new technology and knowledge of today may finally lead us to a cure or at least a way towards remission with certain types of cancer.
Source article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170324083018.htm