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Part 4: Targeting Cancer Pathways: The Epigenetics Question

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Part 4: Targeting Cancer Pathways: The Epigenetics Question

Recorded 12 August 2015

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This webinar is the fourth in a series focusing on the cancer pathways that support tumor development, the emerging research in identifying and targeting these pathways, and innovations in the development of increasingly effective cancer therapy options. Recent advances in our understanding of cancer have revealed that the disease cannot be understood through simple analysis of genetic mutations within the cancerous cells. Instead, tumors should be considered as complex tissues in which the cancer cells communicate directly and indirectly with the surrounding cellular microenvironment and evolve traits that promote their own survival. In this webinar we will explore how aberrant changes in epigenetic modification can affect the expression of key genes and contribute to the pathological progression of cancer. During the webinar, the speakers will:

  • Outline the major epigenetic changes seen in tumor tissue
  • Explain how specific epigenetic pathways can be targeted for therapeutic intervention
  • Introduce the role of histone modifications (methylation, acetylation, ubiquitylation, phosphorylation, and others) in tumor survival and progression.

This Webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

You can also view Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 5 of this series.

To learn more about this and other webinars, go to: www.cellsignal.com/koch 

Speaker bios

Stephen B. Baylin, M.D.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Dr. Baylin is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Oncology and Medicine, and chief of the cancer biology division and associate director for research of the cancer center. He attended Duke University where he earned his medical degree in 1968 and completed his internship and first year residency in internal medicine. Dr. Baylin joined the departments of oncology and medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after a short period at the National Heart and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. His research interests include cellular biology and the genetics of cancer, specifically epigenetics and the silencing of tumor suppressor genes and tumor progression. His work looks at the mechanisms through which variations in tumor cells arise. Dr. Baylin has received numerous awards during his career and was most recently selected as a fellow of the AACR Academy Class of 2014. Baylin served on the American Association for Cancer Research Board of Directors from 2004 through 2007, and is an associate editor of Cancer Research. He has also presented frequently at AACR conferences and chaired the AACR special conference DNA Methylation, Imprinting and the Epigenetics of Cancer. Dr. Baylin has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications.

Charles Roberts, M.D., Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

Dr. Roberts received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. He is an associate professor in pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and deputy chief scientific officer of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Roberts’ laboratory studies the role of mutations in genes encoding subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin complex in driving cancer. The SWI/SNF complex has been identified as the most frequently mutated chromatin modifier. His laboratory is defining the pathways and mechanisms by which chromatin alterations contribute to oncogenesis. Dr. Roberts also serves as scientific director of the Pediatric Solid Tumor Program and co-chair of the Pediatric Institutional Review Board at Dana-Farber. He has been elected to the Society of Pediatric Research and the American Society of Clinical Investigation. 

Ali Shilatifard, Ph.D.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, IL

Dr. Shilatifard is the Robert Francis Furchgott Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Shilatifard studies the protein complexes that regulate gene expression during normal development and how the mutations within the components of these complexes are associated with human cancer, with a focus on childhood leukemia. His interest lies in how these complexes function and how information about their catalytic properties can be used for the treatment of many human malignancies. Dr. Shilatifard’s laboratory discovered the Set1/COMPASS of yeast as the first histone H3K4 methylase. Unlike yeast, mammalian cells have an extended set of six COMPASS family members and recent studies have demonstrated that many of them are mutated in large numbers of solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Dr. Shilatifard serves as a senior editor for the journal Science and deputy editor for Science Advances. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of Genentech, Keystone Symposia, and the Max-Planck Society. Among his many honors, Dr. Shilatifard won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-AMGEN Award and the American Cancer Society Award of Excellence.

Annalisa VanHook, Ph.D.

Science Signaling/AAAS
Washington, DC

Dr. VanHook studied biology as an undergraduate at Kenyon College and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah.  She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in the field of evolutionary developmental biology. Dr. VanHook joined the staff of Science Signaling/AAAS in 2008, where she is currently web editor of Science Signaling.

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