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Epigenetics research shows great promise


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As mentioned in today's teleconference, I am a consumer representative on a research project being conducted at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney into better management of active surveillance using epigenetics.


Epigenetics is about whether genes are turned on or off, rather than whether they are there or not (genetics).


One of the major epigenetic mechanisms is methylation, the addition of methyl groups to the DNA strands.  If they are added near individual genes, they can turn off the activity of that gene.


Researchers are also doing an epigenetic project in the Advanced Prostate Cancer setting and showed me some of the results.


There were two groups of guys with similar genetics and the same array of genes of interest for each.  All had access to the usual treatment options.  One group showed very low methylation rates at the selected genes whereas the other had high methylation rates at the same genes.  All the guys with high methylation rates are dead and all the guys with the low methylation rates are alive.


Epigenetics may be the key to cracking this problem although there is lots more work to do.


These researchers have the capacity to look at the entire genome, they are not restricted to a small number of genes.


The research group is also looking at biomarkers and potential therapeutics in this space.



I am very heartened by these developments.


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Tony: Once again many thanks for the very interesting information you have provided. Todays teleconference turned out to be extremely informative in two particular areas and shines a light on progress for the future in understanding this disease and the possibility of shutting it down. It appears to be a case of going forward and onward.

Lee aka Popeye

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  • 3 years later...

Hello Tony, just on the epigenetics/ risk prediction. I now have mets in the spine and due to start hormone therapy and chemo (due to see oncologist 24th October. Where, or, who can refer me to to have my genome tested? As far as you are aware, is this proposed treatment the best that is out there. I've heard about work being done by Louise Emmett, but I believe that this is only if chemo/hormone treatment has failed?

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