"If our methylation suicide in cancer hypothesis is correct, then our teamas well as other research teams around the worldcan start looking for drugs to enhance the response, make it go off even more and kill more cancer cells," said Dr. Bestor. "We hope to publish our findings soon."
The question associated with Dr. Bestor's research is whether new methods can be developed to discriminate between "driver" and "passenger" epigenetic events, as scientists are better able to identify epigenetic changes that occur during tumor development. Epigenetic events are mechanisms that change patterns of gene expression without affecting the DNA sequence. These changes can persist through cell division and can be passed from parent to offspring.
In short, Dr. Bestor will aim to address is whether new hypotheses can lead to methods to differentiate between events that initiate carcinogenesis versus those that carry it along.
NCI's Provocative Questions project emerged from discussion among veteran cancer researchers. There were a number of questionssome important but not obvious, some that had been asked but abandoned because researchers lacked ways to address them, some sparked by new discoveries or novel technologiesthat they believed could stimulate the NCI's research communities to use laboratory, clinical, and population sciences in especially effective and imaginative ways.
Over a period of 18 months, NCI solicited questions from scientists in various fields and at different stages in their careers, ultimately settling on 24 questions that, if answered, could lead to significant research advances.
|Contact: Elizabeth Streich|
Columbia University Medical Center