Grant ID RP170295
Awarded On November 16, 2016
Title Developing Effective Epigenetic Biomarkers to Identify Individuals with High Risk of Cancer
Program Academic Research
Award Mechanism Individual Investigator Research Awards for Prevention and Early Detection
Institution/Organization Baylor College of Medicine
Principal Investigator/Program Director Robert Waterland
Cancer Sites Bladder, Breast, Colorectal, Kidney and Renal Pelvis, Lung and Bronchus, Lymphoma, Prostate
Contracted Amount $1,052,089
Lay Summary

In addition to family history, lifestyle, and genetics, stable mechanisms that regulate gene expression – termed epigenetics – hold promise for cancer risk assessment. In particular, DNA methylation is a stable epigenetic mark important in cancer. However, because DNA methylation can vary across different cell types, studying easily obtainable cells like blood is not always useful. To overcome this obstacle we pioneered the discovery of human genomic regions called ‘metastable epialleles’, at which individual variation in DNA methylation is stable across different cell types. We have identified a subset of human metastable epialleles involved in cancer, and our preliminary data show that we...

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