Invited Talk: Epigenetic Changes due to DNA Methylation in Human Epithelial Tumors @ Acharya Hall
Aug 12 @ 12:18 pm – 12:39 pm

sathyaK. Satyamoorthy, Ph.D.
Director, Life Sciences Centre, Manipal University, India

Epigenetic Changes due to DNA Methylation in Human Epithelial Tumors

Extensive global hypomethylation in the genome and hypermthylation of selective tumor specific suppressor genes appears to be a hallmark of human cancers.  Data suggests that hypermethylation of promoter region in genes is more closely related to subsequent gene expression; contrary to gene-body DNA methylation.  The intricate balance between these two may contribute to the progressive process of development, differentiation and carcinogenesis.  Epigenetic changes encompass, apart from DNA methylation, chromatin modifications through post-translational changes in histones and control by miRNAs.  At the genome level, effects from these are compounded by copy number variations (CNVs) which may ultimately influence protein functions.    From clinical perspective, changes in DNA methylation occur very early which are reversible and are influenced by environmental factors.  Therefore, these can be potential resource for identifying therapeutic targets as well as biomarkers for early screening of cancer.  Our current efforts in profiling genome wide DNA methylation changes in oral, cervical and breast cancers through DNA methylation microarray analysis has revealed number of alterations critical for survival, progression and metastatic behavior of tumors.  Bioinformatics and functional analysis revealed several key regulatory molecules controlled by DNA methylation and suggests that DNA methylation changes in several CpG islands appear to co-segregate in the regions of miRNAs as well as in the CNVs.  We have validated the signatures for methylation of CpG islands through bisufite sequencing for essential genes in clinical samples and have undertaken transcriptional and functional analysis in tumor cell lines.    These results will be presented.

Invited Talk: Targeting aberrant cancer kinome using rationally designed nano-polypharmaceutics @ Acharya Hall
Aug 13 @ 2:05 pm – 2:29 pm

ManzoorManzoor K, Ph.D.
Professor, Centre for Nanoscience & Molecular Medicine, Amrita University

Targeting aberrant cancer kinome using rationally designed nano-polypharmaceutics

Manzoor Koyakutty, Archana Ratnakumary, Parwathy Chandran, Anusha Ashokan, and Shanti Nair

`War on Cancer’ was declared nearly 40 years ago. Since then, we made significant progress on fundamental understanding of cancer and developed novel therapeutics to deal with the most complex disease human race ever faced with. However, even today, cancer remains to be the unconquered `emperor of all maladies’. It is well accepted that meaningful progress in the fight against cancer is possible only with in-depth understanding on the molecular mechanisms that drives its swift and dynamic progression. During the last decade, emerging new technologies such as nanomedicine could offer refreshing life to the `war on cancer’ by way of providing novel methods for molecular diagnosis and therapy.

In the present talk, we discuss our approaches to target critically aberrant cancer kinases using rationally designed polymer-protein and protein-protein core-shell nanomedicines. We have used both genomic and proteomic approaches to identify many intimately cross-linked and complex aberrant protein kinases behind the drug resistance and uncontrolled proliferation of refractory leukemic cells derived from patients. Small molecule inhibitors targeted against oncogenic pathways in these cells were found ineffective due to the involvement of alternative survival pathways. This demands simultaneous inhibition more than one oncogenic kinases using poly-pharmaceutics approach. For this, we have rationally designed core-shell nanomedicines that can deliver several small molecules together for targeting multiple cancer signalling. We have also used combination of small molecules and siRNA for combined gene silencing together with protein kinase inhibition in refractory cancer cells. Optimized nanomedicines were successfully tested in patient samples and found enhanced cytotoxicity and molecular specificity in drug resistant cases.

Nano-polypharmaceutics represents a new generation of nanomedicines that can tackle multiple cancer mechanisms simultaneously. Considering the complexity of the disease, such therapeutic approaches are not simply an advantage, but indispensable.

We thank Dept. of Biotechnology and Dept. Of Science and Technology,Govt. of India for the financial support through `Thematic unit of Excellence in Medical NanoBiotechnology’ and `Nanomedicine- RNAi programs’.