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Epigenetics - unlocking the potential for personalised medicine
By Dr Jason Mellad

The sequencing of the human genome in 2003 signalled the dawn of an exciting new era for genetic medicine. Yet almost 15 years later it has become clear that our genes alone cannot predict our susceptibility to most complex diseases or fully explain fundamental aspects of human development and ageing.

Epigenetic factors are rapidly taking the spotlight as major players in the critical pathways that trigger the onset and progression of numerous life-threatening and debilitating genetic diseases. Technologies that harness our growing knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms look set to revolutionise approaches to medicine and healthcare across the globe.

Precise and powerful chemical modifications to our DNA alter the regulation or function of essential genes that influence our development or cause disease. Innovations, such as oxidative bisulfite (oxBS) sequencing enable accurate quantification and mapping of these important epigenetic marks, which cannot be identified and measured using traditional genetic research techniques.

Epigenetic signatures have become valuable biomarkers for disease, inspiring a new generation of medicines and diagnostics that bring precision medicine closer than ever to the patient. In combination with techniques such as liquid biopsy (LQB), epigenetic platforms provide swift and accurate analysis of clinical samples, facilitating early detection of disease with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes....

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