A profile on Jay Bradner, a researcher at Dana Farber, looking at how epigenetics (the programmes that manage the genome) may provide better treatment options. Not without controversy but his open approach to sharing results and research with collaborators allows for quicker results. Quote:
“Epigenetics is the new horizon, but when you get down to it, the fact is that people are just mucking around with it and finding interesting effects,” says Gerard Evans, a cancer biologist who studies epigenetic signalling at the University of Cambridge, UK. Epigenetics affects many cellular functions, and researchers are only beginning to learn how it influences cell memory.
Whatever the outcome, some see hopeful signs in Bradner’s open approach. Dhanak says that he welcomes it. “People like Jay have been tremendous in pushing forward the frontiers,” he says.
What Bradner wants most is to fulfil his pledge to the firefighter who died from NMC. “His gift of that rare tumour, given at a time when he was beyond all conceivable treatment, was a powerful experience,” Bradner says. If bromodomain inhibition fails, Bradner will apply the same open-source strategy to another target. “More and more, I feel it is so important to impact patients’ suffering from cancer, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s with our molecules or someone else’s,” he says.