In May 2013 the first Birmingham Cancer Epigenetics Conference took place at the University of Birmingham, UK. With research into translational epigenetics, and particularly cancer epigenetics, growing rapidly it was a perfect time for the meeting organizers, including Ciaran Woodman, Bryan Turner, Constanze Bonifer, and the meeting sponsors, Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, to hold this inaugural conference.
The proceedings from this meeting have been published today as a supplement in Clinical Epigenetics, including abstracts from talks by Adrian Bird (University of Edinburgh) on DNA methylation in a rare form of autism, Jason Carroll (University of Cambridge) on FoxA1 inhibition in ER+ breast cancer, and Charles Craddock (University of Birmingham) on clinical trials for epigenetic drugs.
As our knowledge of the epigenetic basis of diseases increases so does our chances of discovering potential therapeutic targets. This was the focus of many of the presentations at the meeting with speakers discussing the identification of transcription factors, proteins, receptors and pathways that could be targets for epigenetic drugs, or where drugs are already going into Phase-I trials. The day had a strong emphasis on leukemia, with over half of the talks discussing hematological malignancies. The day opened with talks covering basic biology, mostly on CpG island methylation, which is typically enhanced in cancer, followed by sessions discussing translational research through to clinical trials, including those on DNA methyltransferase inhibitors as a post-transplant combination therapy.
You can read the full supplement on the Clinical Epigenetics website, where you can also sign up for article alerts from the journal. For more information on Clinical Epigenetics, or to submit a manuscript, please visit the journal website or contact the Editorial Office.
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