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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and head of the Yael David Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Yael David, joins the podcast for a second time.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • In what way the region of DNA once considered “junk” plays an integral role in epigenetic regulation
  • Where epigenetic regulation occurs, and what happens in this regard during the development of cancer
  • What “garbage men” proteins are and how they are used by cancer cells to avoid high levels of damage that could result in cancer cell death
  • Whether cancer cells are more or less prone to epigenetic changes

The topic of discussion is centered around the relationship between epigenetics and cancer. In simple terms, epigenetic regulation of gene expression explains why–despite every cell in the body containing the same genetic information–some cells carry out unique functions. This gene regulation and expression sheds light on how phenotypic characteristics vary from individual to individual, whether in humans or other species.

The research in David’s lab is focused on the modification of histones, which are the proteins responsible for DNA packing in the nucleus. She explains that long-term changes in response to various extracellular signals can lead to changes in DNA histone structure, which can affect cell division, daughter cells, and whole sets of cells in a certain environment. She discusses how colorectal cancer is epigenetically-driven, the quest to determine what causes the epigenetic change responsible for it, and how that epigenetic change drives the development of this type of cancer.

In addition to these topics, David discusses various types and layers of epigenetic regulation, the importance of regions of DNA that were once (not too long ago) considered “junk DNA,” epigenetic regulation with respect to an organism’s health, what strategies are employed by cancer cells for their own survival, what type of research would allow for an epigenetic timeline of a tumor, what types of suppression and activation mechanisms occur in cancer, how the discovery of oncohistones has led to a better understanding of the induction of cancer and flexible capacity of histones to undergo modification, how the environment communicates with histones, RNA modification, and more.

Visit to learn more.

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