Epigenetic strategy




The term epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence; a change in phenotype without a change in genotype. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment/lifestyle, and disease state. Epigenetic modifications can manifest as commonly as the manner in which cells terminally differentiate to end up as skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, etc. Or, epigenetic change can have more damaging effects that can result in diseases like cancer.

At least three systems including DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA (ncRNA)-associated gene silencing are currently considered to initiate and sustain epigenetic change.

The vast majority of epigenetic changes only occur within the course of one individual organism's lifetime, but some others are inherited from one generation to the next.

Cancer is caused by failure of checks and balances that control cell numbers in response to the needs of the whole organism. Inappropriate function of genes that promote or inhibit cell growth or survival can be caused by errors introduced into the genetic code itself or by faulty epigenetic mechanisms deciding which genes can and cannot be expressed. Epigenetic lesions and genetic mutations are acquired during the life of an individual and accumulate with aging. Both types of events, either individually or in cooperation, can result in the loss of control over cell growth and development of cancer

The drug discovery division of Quimatryx is focused on the area of cancer epigenetics.




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