AACC’s first-ever virtual conference, Personalized Diagnostics Today, is quickly approaching on October 28-29, 2014, and one of the highlights will be “The Emerging Role of Pharmaco-epigenetics in High-Resolution Personalized Medicine” session, hosted by Mark W. Linder, PhD, of the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky.

“The primary message is that epigenetics has the potential for explaining a larger degree of the variability than can be explained by traditional genetic approaches,” Linder explained of his upcoming session. “Epigenetics as diagnostic tools are a promising area for expansion of precision diagnostics.”

Linder’s presentation will discuss his recent research into epigenetics. “An accumulating body of evidence demonstrates that different tumor types and disease states carry unique epigenetic signatures,” according to an abstract describing his team’s research. “A well-established epigenetic mechanism of gene inactivation that contributes to pathology is methylation of cytosines adjacent to guanine in a CpG configuration. DNA methylation analysis is currently applied as a primary diagnostic for imprinting disorders.”

Linder also sees a future in which epigenetics one day will be part of routine clinical practice. “One hope for the future of medicine is to be able to harness epigenetic patterns indicative of disease states and utilize such DNA biomarker panels for the detection, prognosis, and prediction of treatment responses,” Linder’s abstract states. His team’s research serves as an overview that addresses epigenetics fundamentals, with emphasis on DNA methylation; describes how DNA methylation analysis can be used in clinical diagnostics; introduces the field of pharmaco-epigenetics; and shows how diagnostic workups can be made more precise by analyzing methylation status.

Learn more about Linder’s research at AACC’s virtual meeting, which will be conducted completely online. In 12 sessions over 2 days, presenters will explore the many ways labs provide or manage the information that informs the practice of personalized medicine today. The conference, which offers up to 21 continuing education credits, is free for AACC members and available to non-AACC members at an attractive rate.