Epigenetic eureka

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A team of researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has found an epigenetic modification that might be the cause of 15% of adult cancers of the throat linked to alcohol and tobacco use. This is a first in the field of epigenetics and the researchers are hopeful that the discovery can blaze a path in the development of new, targeted, more effective treatments that could arise over the next few years.

“This discovery was absolutely unexpected since it seemed highly improbable that the kind of alterations of the epigenome that we had previously found in other types of tumours in children and young adults could also target an epithelial tumour like throat cancer that occurs only in adults,” explains Dr. Nada Jabado, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Member, Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre and the departments of Human Genetics, Oncology and Medicine (Experimental Medicine division). Jabado, a pediatric hemato-oncologist, is one of the principal authors of the study published in Nature Genetics. (MUHC Newsroom)

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