Articles that explore the ways in which epigenetic drugs may be used to stave off cancer and other diseases. Additional articles cover topics related to drug abuse, rehab, and addiction.

New Drug Targets Epigenetic Mark, May Help Treat Rare Cancer

June 23, 2020 Danton Ivanochko

In 2020, the FDA approved Epizyme’s drug tazemetostat (Brand name: Tazverik) to treat a rare type of solid tumor called epithelioid sarcoma. Tazemetostat targets the epigenetic enzyme EZH2, which is strongly linked to several cancer types. Now, Epizyme is seeking accelerated approval for tazemetostat to treat a common form of blood cancer called follicular lymphoma, and has clinical trials running for several additional cancer types. Cancer is a genetic disease that causes unrestrained cell proliferation. Typically, chemotherapies treat cancer by [more…]

Epigenetics May Be Why Cocaine Cravings Increase With Time After Abstinence

January 28, 2020 Tim Barry

Addiction is an incredibly powerful force that affects many people all over the world. It’s a debilitating, lifelong disease that is difficult to combat. Cocaine addiction is a particularly challenging obstacle because it’s an immediately rewarding drug, delivering a high quick and easy. This trait, paired with drug-associated cues such as location, experience, or certain people is what makes the possibility of relapsing so likely for addicts. But what if there were other factors on a genetic level that cause [more…]

Teen Drinking Could Epigenetically Hinder Brain Development

April 9, 2019 Tim Barry

Alcohol is likely the most used and abused substance in the world. It’s fine to have a few cocktails or beers per week, but only for those that are of the legal drinking age. Underage drinking is a consistent issue faced in the United States today. According to the CDC, kids ages 12-20 consume about 11% of all alcohol in the US, and this can be problematic as it is often done in a bingeing manner, rather than a causal [more…]

Marijuana Use May Epigenetically Impact Sperm Health

January 22, 2019 Tim Barry

Marijuana has been the topic of much recent debate across the United States, and its legalization has undoubtedly gained some ground. Almost all states in the US have legalized marijuana in some capacity, whether it be for medicinal or recreational purposes which could have a positive effect on both medicine and the economy. Cannabis has provided some relief for patients suffering from various sicknesses like chronic pain, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and even HIV/AIDs and cancers. As the use of marijuana [more…]

Exercise May Offset Drinking’s Harmful Epigenetic Effect on the Brain

April 17, 2018 Natalie Crowley

Drinking alcohol on a regular basis, even in moderation, can cause damage to the brain. Physical activity, however, has been reported to protect cognitive function. So, could exercise counteract drinking’s harmful effects on the brain? In a recent study conducted at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, KY, a group of researchers decided to tackle this question by taking an epigenetic look at how alcohol and exercise affect the brain. Specifically, they looked at alcohol-induced epigenetic and [more…]

Epigenetic Bee Study Explains Why Cocaine is So Addictive

March 27, 2018 Natalie Crowley

Bees, like humans, have been known to act…well, buzzed when given cocaine. And just like us, they can also become addicted to it…even suffer from withdrawal symptoms when the drug is taken away. It’s this similarity in altered behavior to us that makes them a great model system to study when investigating the effects of cocaine use. As it just so happens, researchers from Norway and Australia recently conducted a study using honey bees to investigate cocaine dependency. Not the [more…]

Epigenetic Drugs That Fight Cancer Also Show Promise as Antivirals

October 31, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Epigenetic drugs designed to fight cancer might actually be used against many viruses as well. A recent study published in the American Society for Microbiology shows that some pharmaceuticals that act epigenetically have the power to be used as broad spectrum antivirals. Specifically, the researchers looked at histone methyltransferases EZH2/1 inhibitors which can help fight against cancer. Numerous DNA viruses, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), are involved in epigenetic regulation which determines productive infection, persistence, and latency. Modulation to [more…]

A Glimmer of Hope in the Ugly Face of Addiction: Epigenetics May Help Prevent Relapse

October 24, 2017 Tim Barry

Addiction has become an epidemic that is sweeping not only the nation, but the whole world. Returning substance abusers develop an emotional connection to a situation, environment or people that are present at the time of first usage, which generally means that when they encounter a similar experience, they look to use again. Kicking an addiction and all its symptoms may be one of the hardest things that a human has to endure. Half the battle is stopping use of [more…]

Could Drinking Alcohol Epigenetically Hamper Your Ability to Process Cholesterol?

October 17, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Johns Hopkins Medicine worked together to analyze human and mouse epigenomes and discovered that drinking alcohol could lead to epigenetic changes that influence a particular gene’s ability to regulate cholesterol. The results suggest an underlying epigenetic mechanism known as DNA methylation could explain why someone’s body processes cholesterol differently depending on their drinking habits. It also offers unique insight into the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs which are commonly used to reduce [more…]

Down a Path of Epigenetic Destruction: Smoking Cigarettes Adjusts Critical Marks on DNA

September 26, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

You can now add “harmful changes to your DNA” to the long list of reasons to quit smoking cigarettes, along with lung cancer, coronary heart disease, increased risk of death, stroke, chronic lung disease, decreased immune function, infertility, and the fact that smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center recently contributed to the growing evidence that demonstrates that smoking cigarettes – which contain a deadly cocktail of over 7,000 chemicals – [more…]

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