A key characteristic of cancer cells is the presence of genome alterations, including changes in epigenetic modifications that can profoundly impact gene expression and cellular function. Regulators of DNA methylation and histone modification can thus be considered as potential therapeutic targets in oncology. In recent years, DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase inhibitors have shown efficacy in treating some hematological malignancies. Intense efforts are underway to develop the next generation of inhibitors, including targeting additional epigenetic regulators, and further to test treatment of solid tumors. The reviews in this series explore advances in cancer epigenetics driven by high-throughput sequencing studies, the clinical use of DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, the development of inhibitors targeting histone modifying enzymes, biomarkers of drug efficacy, and aging-related changes in the epigenome. In his overview, series editor Peter Jones highlights ongoing basic and clinical efforts as well as future challenges in translating epigenetic research to patient therapy.
Published January 2014
An association between cancer and altered cellular metabolism has been known for decades, and clinically this aspect of tumor biology is exploited by imaging techniques that rely on the uptake of labeled glucose analogues to identify tumors. Following the discovery of oncogenic mutations in several metabolic enzymes, there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years on the role that altered metabolism plays in tumor development and maintenance. The reviews in this series address many key facets of cancer metabolism, including the role of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations and oncometabolites, the link between tumor hypoxia and metabolism, as well as lactate and glucose metabolism in tumors. Further, these reviews collectively explore emerging therapeutic and imaging options that target metabolic pathways in cancer. Image credit, Drs. Changho Choi and Elizabeth Maher.
Published September 2013
The liver plays vital roles in digestion, metabolism, and detoxification. Remarkably, the adult liver has a unique ability to regenerate, with a capacity to regenerate even after two-thirds of the organ is removed by partial hepatectomy. The reviews in this series explore the roles of hepatocytes, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, hepatic stellate cells, and hepatic stem/progenitor cells in development, repair, and pathogenesis. Improved understanding of the cellular process underlying development and regeneration may provide important insights into liver injury caused by disease and aberrant cellular replication in liver cancers. Image credit: Dr. Kenichiro Furuyama.
Published May 2013
Aging is an inevitable facet of life. However, research into the molecular mechanisms of aging suggests potential targets that could be therapeutically modified to slow the aging process and increase the span of healthy living. The articles in this series explore selected cellular mechanisms of aging and their link to age-related clinical conditions. These mechanisms include short telomeres, the induction of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in systemic aging, sirtuin regulation of metabolism and aging-associated diseases, mitochondrial metabolism in aging, the mTOR signaling pathway and longevity, aging and immune system function, and aging-associated changes in pancreatic β-cells.
Published March 2013
Despite incredible progress in cardiology research, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in industrialized nations. The reviews in this series explore selected areas of cardiovascular research that show promising translational potential. Areas of interest include therapeutic antagomirs targeting cardiac microRNAs, the genetic basis of cardiomyopathies and cardiac arrhythmias, the role of chronic inflammation in atherosclerosis, S-nitrosylation in vasodilatation, as well as emerging approaches to treat heart failure, such as gene therapy, stem cell regeneration, therapeutics that restore normal calcium cycling, and interventions to reduce reperfusion injury following myocardial infarction. Advances stemming from these ongoing research efforts may soon be poised to make an impact on the clinical management of cardiovascular disease. Image credit: BSIP / Science Source.
Published January 2013
Cancers derived from lymphoid cells, including B cell and T cell lineages, often exhibit aberrant processes of lymphoid differentiation or activation, resulting in a broad spectrum of diverse and complex lymphomas and leukemias. The reviews in this series focus on recent progress in selected lymphoid malignancies, with an emphasis on the molecular mechanisms and genetic alterations that drive oncogenesis, including new mutations identified by genome-wide analyses. These newly identified genes are improving our mechanistic understanding of how these cancers develop and progress, and provide new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Cover image credit: Aaron Polliack / Photo Researchers, Inc.
Published October 2012
In addition to the critical function of gas exchange, our lungs also serve as an important barrier between our bodies and the environment. The reviews in this series explore all aspects of the lung, from the developmental processes that generate the barrier, to the immune reactions that drive conditions like asthma, to the cell biology that underlies acute respiratory distress and pulmonary fibrosis. In a turn toward clinical medicine, this series also addresses how basic research has contributed to the development of new therapeutic strategies for pulmonary disease. Cover image credit: Shutterstock, Inc. Copyright: Sebastian Kaulitzki
Published August 2012
Hidden behind the blood brain and blood CSF barriers, the nervous system is often considered an area of immune privilege, lacking the surveillance system that guards the rest of our bodies against infection. However, the reviews in this series reveal that the immune and nervous systems are actually inextricably linked. In addition to physical connections, the two systems share common signaling molecules and pathways, and the mechanics of cell-cell interactions in both systems are remarkably similar. Disturbance of the immune system of the brain is linked to important human conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Cover image credit: Photo Researchers
Published April 2012
Though it's the first thing we see when we look at each other, the skin may be occasionally forgotten as a site of clinically important disease. The reviews in this series highlight our current understanding of several common dermatological conditions, and describe how research in the field has played a major role in expanding our understanding of the basic biology of stem cells and cancer. Correspondingly, basic research findings have led to new insights into dermatological disease, often with impact on therapeutic strategies. Cover image credit: John Seykora
Published February 2012
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are major health problems worldwide, and despite identification of the causative agents and understanding of the mechanism of transmission, many have continued to grow in prevalence. Untreated, STIs may complicate pregnancy and fertility, lead to stillbirth, or result in chronic disease or death. Decades of research have offered glimpses into the pathophysiology of many of these diseases, but as the reviews in this series make clear, a deeper understanding of the natural history of infection, the molecular biology of the agents, and the environment of the hosts they invade will be necessary to achieve their control and eradication. Cover image credit: Thomas Quinn
Published December 2011