Cancer Genetics & Epigenetics

Cancer is basically a disease of tissue growth regulation. In order for a normal cell to transform into a Cancer cell, the genes that regulate cell growth and differentiation must be altered. The affected genes are divided into two broad categories: Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes. Oncogenes are genes that stimulate cell growth and reproduction. Tumor Suppressor Genes are genes that inhibit cell division and survival. Malignant transformation can occur through the development of novel Oncogenes, the inappropriate over-expression of usual Oncogenes, or by the under-expression or disabling of Tumor Suppressor Genes. Typically, alterations in Multiple Genes are required to transform a normal cell into a Cancer cell.

Cancer Epigenetics deals with the Epigenetic Modifications to the genome of Cancer cells that do not involve any change in the nucleotide sequence. Epigenetic Alterations are as vital as Genetic Mutations in a normal cell transformation to Cancer cells, and their manipulation holds great promise for Cancer prevention, detection, and therapy. In different types of Cancer, a variety of epigenetic mechanisms can be perturbed, such as silencing of Tumor Suppressor Genes and activation of Oncogenes by altered CpG island methylation patterns, histone modifications, and dysregulation of DNA binding proteins. Several medications which have Epigenetic Impact are now used in several of these diseases.

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