Systems biomedicine

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Published: 28 Dec 2010
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Prof Edison Liu - Genome Institute of Singapore
Cancer is a complex disease which is caused by multiple genetic and epigenetic changes. In addition, cancer is a genetic moving target capable of mutating into resistant or more aggressive forms. Prof Liu's team have employed a strategy of using genomic data to reconstruct systems maps of critical regulatory networks, identify critical nodes in the oncogeneic network and target them in order to induce apoptosis and cell differentiation. This genome-to-system approach was used to quickly uncover the complex mechanisms of action of DZNep, an S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase inhibitor that induces apoptosis in cancer cells but not in normal cells. Prof Liu explains how EZH2 levels and genomic mapping will be used to decide patient eligibility for this treatment and notes that considering this therapy targets a process rather than a specific cancer; it will be useful when treating a number of different cancers.