Disruption of Gene Control in Cancer
Disruption of normal gene expression patterns as a result of epigenetic changes (changes to the environment of genes, rather than changes to the DNA sequence itself) is an emerging theme in cancer biology. While the genetic changes that cause cancer are currently not reversible, the epigenetic changes can potentially be reversed by pharmacological intervention. Our research is aimed at understanding how such epigenetic changes occur and how they contribute to the development of leukaemia. Our current studies are focussed on the RUNX1 transcription factor, which is altered in a significant proportion of acute myeloid leukaemias. The altered forms of RUNX1 are proposed to contribute to the generation of leukaemia by altering the epigenetic environment of genes that are important in normal blood cell development and function. Our studies are identifying the genes involved and the mechanisms by which their expression is disrupted.
- Dr Adele Holloway (Senior Research Fellow)
- Abeer Qadi (PhD Student)