a focus on new treatments
Right now, cancer research is rapidly growing with the support and introduction of new technology into human genes. Just imagine a treatment that is tailored or personalised to match your type of cancer as well as your personal genetic profile. Well, it’s not a distant dream and it is certainly no research black hole as we are currently building the foundations towards trying to do this for blood cancer here in Australia. Some of the ‘next-generation’ treatment areas are showing huge promise to shift paradigms in our lifetimes.
Since inception, the Snowdome Foundation has been focused on supporting Epigenetic research. We have largely supported the Victorian Epigenetics Group with the funds we have raised. The Victorian Epigenetics Group is a collaboration across a number of blood cancer specialist hospitals which have a strategic, planned approach to their research efforts.
From 2014, the Snowdome Foundation has been working with other collaborative groups to support new areas of research that will accelerate new treatments to Australian blood cancer patients. Stay tuned with our News section to keep updated.
Epigenetics is a science at the very edge of our understanding of how life works.
Essentially, it’s the study of what switches cancer cells on and off.
Epigenetic treatments work by a combination of targeting the ‘instruction manual’ of the cell and boosting the immune system’s capacity to fight the cancer.
A simple way to understand Epigenetics is to think of genes as the ‘recipe book’ of our cells.
There’s a copy of that book in every cell of your body. And each volume holds more than 10,000 individual recipes. The epigenome is the cook who opens that book, chooses the recipe and instructs the cell exactly how to prepare it.
As any cook knows, a small variation from a recipe can have a big effect on the finished dish. So if the epigenome is altered or damaged, the genes lose their ability to control the cell. The cell will then grow randomly and cancer can be the result.
However, if we can fix that epigenome, we can attack blood cancers at their source, by developing Epigenetic drugs and therapies that re-program the epigenome and rehabilitate the rogue cell.
This is far from science fiction. Epigenetics has a proven track record of improving patient outcomes.
In 2009 the first epigenetic therapies were approved for three sub-types of blood cancers by drug regulatory agencies around the world. The challenge now is to discover for which other blood cancers it can improve outcomes and for whom these drugs are most suited.
What works spectacularly well in one person with blood cancer can fail in another. But soon, we hope to discover how to predict an individual’s response to treatments based on their genetic make-up, resulting in treatments that are less toxic and destructive and more intelligent, targeted and effective.
We need critical financial support to go deeper.