Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 21 of 51

20 Clinical OMICs January/February 2019 Researchers Make Inroads to Understand Disease Via How Genes Are Affected by Environment W hile most molecular studies of disease continue to focus on mutational analysis, epigenetics—the science of how genes are regulated and impacted by their environment over time—is gaining in importance. And, with the advent of better, faster, cheaper technology, epigenetic testing is starting to make its way into the clinic. "The field of clinical epigenetics is expanding rapidly, especially in cancer," said Bodour Salhia, M.D., assistant professor of translational genomics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "The reasons for this include advances in technology and a buy-in to the importance and relevance of the use of epigenetic markers to track diseases." Another reason for the growing popularity of pre-clinical epigenetics research is the fact that mutational analyses have given inconsistent results. "Genetics has not borne the fruit of predicting disease," said Zachary Kaminsky, Ph.D., DIFD Mach Gaensslen Chair in Suicide Prevention Research at The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research, affiliated with the Uni- versity of Ottawa. "Epigenetics has potential because it lies at the interface of genes and the environment." Epigenetic researchers hope this will give them more power to predict risk, diagnose, and potentially treat complex diseases, from cancer and cardio- vascular disease to psychiatric disorders. Several tests that utilize epigenetic markers are already in use in the clinic. For Camille Mojica Rey, Ph.D. Contributing Editor Eyeing Epigenetics LAGUNA DESIGN / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

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