Types of Cancer: Colon
Research Institution: Queensland Institute for Medical Research, Brisbane (QIMR)
Research program leader: Professor Emma Whitelaw, acknowledged, globally, as a world leader in epigenetics. is expanding her research to cover the role of epigenetics in human disease, including cancer.
Senior Scientists: Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench, Professor Nick Hayward
Featured Outcome: A research program identifying genes involved in maintaining the genome in the ‘correct’ epigenetic state. ACRF’s funding will provide fit-out of equipment for The ACRF Centre for Cancer Epigenetics where this important research is to be conducted.
Background / overview: Epigenetics is the study of mechanisms which modify DNA structure, and thus change gene expression, without influencing the DNA base sequence. This program will have particular interest in the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic modification and how these mechanisms influence phenotype.
Such information has relevance to our ability to understand the genesis and development of cancer both for familial and sporadic cancer. This is a very new area of research and will enable the identification of genes which increase susceptibility to tumours.
This research program at QIMR is the first of its kind in the world and will use the power of forward genetics to identify new genes involved in a range of human cancers.
The research will contribute to the development of personalised presymptomatic health care for members of families found to have inherited mutations in chromatin caretakers.