Epigenetic Therapy

September 27th - 30th, 2018

Co-Chairs:
Jean Issa, MD, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Stephen Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Peter Jones, PhD D.Sc, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI

Participants:
Shelley L. Berger, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Daniel De Carvalho, PhD, Toronto, Ontario
Lucy Godley, MD PhD, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kristian Helin, Biotech Research & Innovation Centre and University
of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nada Jabado, MD PhD, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec
Cigall Kadoch, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
Matthew Lorincz, PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Kenneth P. Nephew, PhD, Indiana State University, Bloomington, IN
Feyruz V. Rassool, PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Charles Roberts, MD PhD, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Ali Shilatifard, PhD, Northwestern University, Chicgao, IL
E. John Wherry, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Rugang Zhang, PhD, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA


Program Description:

Epigenetics is the study of stable patterns of gene expression that determine cellular identity. Epigenetic information is substantially altered by multiple mechanisms in cancer cells. An important development in the field has been the ability to reprogram the epigenome through drugs that target the epigenetic machinery (epigenetic therapy). Early positive results with DNA methylation and Histone Deacetylase inhibitors led to an explosion of drug development, with more than 30 drugs targeting more than 6 different pathways currently in early stage clinical trials. Epigenetic reprogramming is also viewed as an exciting way to reverse drug resistance and sensitize cancers to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

There are key basic and translational issues that remain unsolved in the field, particularly as it is moving to wide acceptance in combination clinical trials. Which epigenetic target will provide optimal chemo or immunosensitization? What are the mechanisms of response and resistance to this therapy? Are the effects of epigenetic “priming” through modulation of tumor or host cell epigenetics?

The 2018 Forum on Epigenetic Therapy will be co-chaired by Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa of Temple University, Dr. Stephen Baylin of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Peter Jones of Van Andel Research Institute. It will bring together investigators with expertise in diverse areas (different epigenetic targets, immunotherapy, basic investigators, clinical-translational investigators) to discuss how synergies across different fields can help move epigenetic therapy forward to improve cancer outcomes.