Investigation of genetic and epigenetic marks in cancer

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Investigation of genetic and epigenetic marks in cancer



  • Contact name

    Prodromos Chatzikyriakou

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    King's College London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    3 years, 8 months, 5 days

  • Research summary

    Cancers are caused by changes (mutations) in the genetic code (DNA) of cells. Additionally, cancers may be caused by changes in how the genetic code is regulated (epigenetic changes). Epigenetic changes control which parts of the genetic code (genes) are switched on or off. Recent technological advances have made it possible to read (sequence) the genetic and epigenetic profile of healthy and tumour cells. This allows us to study these alterations and investigate what drives the formation of individual cancers.

    This study aims to investigate the epigenetic changes in cancer. Control of gene expression is a complex process that involves a number of chemical modifications of both DNA and the proteins that help it package in the cell (histones). These epigenetic features enable the cell to regulate which genes are on or off at any given time and are of paramount importance in development, health and disease.

    Recently, a link between cellular metabolism and epigenetic modifications has been discovered because many epigenetic alterations use products of metabolism as raw materials. Additionally, mutations in genes involved in metabolism have been found to cause number of cancers such as glioblastoma, hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer, pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. A child that inherits such a mutated gene from their parents has a very increased risk of developing cancer.

    Our aim is to investigate the mechanisms that allow the interaction between epigenetic marks and these metabolites in cancer from tumour biopsies. This will help us to better understand the role of epigenetics during cancer formation and growth and will provide potential targets for new therapies.

  • REC name

    South West - Cornwall & Plymouth Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    30 Jan 2017

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion