Let’s chat about how important it is to consider epigenetics in the context of nature’s conversations – so to speak. The systems biology research model assesses complex diseases by considering the interactions amongst multiple layers of dynamic biological processes. When it comes to biomarkers for personalized medicine, the endgame will be defining values to the multiple types of profile signatures (i.e genomic, epigenomic, proteomic, etc) in the story. Quite the project. The trend here is to have collaboration conversations.
If you are interested, please take time to read this brilliant review on blood based diagnostics, Emerging biomarkers-blood-based strategies to detect and monitor cancer. by Hanash, Baik & Kallioniemi. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology (March 2011).The authors suggest a causal model for analyzing a system of biomarkers, including epigenetic data. They stress the need for translational research targeting blood biomarker performance evaluations.
Perhaps you plan to, or have already joined in on this type of translational science goal?
Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, recently proposed A National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is on a “fast track”. (I’ve just started reading his recent book The Language of Life DNA and The Revolution in Personalized Medicine, myself.) The idea is that the new center will help catalyze the process of turning potential therapeutic targets and applications, identified by researchers, into clinical practice. One way might be by helping to provide enough preliminary data on a potential drug, to show that clinical trials are worth the investment to pharmaceutical companies. It will be great to see how epigenetics researchers participate in the endeavor.