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Prof Mark Dawson: Epigenetic Therapies: From Bench to Bedside in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

School of Life and Environmental Sciences Seminar



Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre Darlington Campus

Prof Mark Dawson
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Epigenetic Therapies: From Bench to Bedside in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Our increasing knowledge of cancer genomes and epigenomes has highlighted the central role that aberrant epigenetic regulation plays in the molecular pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Chemical modifications of chromatin, a macromolecular complex of histones and DNA, are dynamically deposited, removed and ‘read’ by highly conserved enzymes and adaptor proteins respectively. The information conveyed by these epigenetic modifications is essential in directing all the DNA based processes such as transcription, DNA repair and replication. Consequently, when these epigenetic regulators are mutated or misdirected, they culminate in the induction and/or maintenance of various cancers including AML. Importantly, the dynamic plasticity of the epigenome lends itself well to therapeutic manipulation and as such the last decade has witnessed an unprecedented investment in the development and application of targeted epigenetic therapies.

In this session, I will provide an overview of chromatin biology and highlight how these insights have led to the development of novel cancer therapeutics.

Mark is a research clinician at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where he currently holds a Senior Fellowshiop from the Leukemia Foundation Australia. His research interests lie in understanding the epigenetic regulation of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. His early research identified a novel therapeutic stratecy for acute myeloid leukemia through targeting a family of epigenetic reader proteins known as BET bromodomain proteins.