American Association for Cancer Research

Cancer Epigenome Task Force

The Mission of The Cancer Epigenome Task Force


The AACR Cancer Epigenome Task Force (CETF) will investigate the feasibility of an integrated International Cancer Epigenome Project modeled after the successful genomics projects already underway to define cancer genomes. The CETF will define the tumor types to be investigated, the scope of epigenomic marks to be studied, the incorporation of the data into publicly accessible databases, and explore the potentials for the use of epigenomic information for the detection, prevention, prognostication and treatment of human cancers.

Recently there has been a massive increase in the amount of information published on the roles of epigenetic processes in human cancer. Additionally, international projects such as the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project have uncovered mutations previously unrecognized in human cancers, which directly impact epigenomic information. The interaction between the epigenome and the genome is now accepted as having a major causative role in human cancers. Thus, the time is now ripe to derive integrated epigenomic maps which define the effects of these mutations, investigate the timing of epigenomic events in the causation of cancer, and utilize this knowledge for the prevention and treatment of these dreaded diseases.

The CETF will use an integrated approach to determine how the epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and variants, nucleosomes and non-coding RNAs, are distributed in the genomes of the various cancers under study and determine the role of these changes in carcinogenesis. Further, the CETF will define standards for the production of such maps and provide publically accessible databases with the goal of accelerating the development of new cancer treatments. By identifying key questions, such as the timing of the events relative to the establishment of a precancerous phenotype as well as potential approaches for providing the solutions to these questions, the CETF will have a major impact on the development of new cancer prevention and treatment approaches.

Read the Special Report on the AACR Human Epigenome Workshop, an initiative of the AACR Human Epigenome Task Force (relaunched as the CETF).

Read the Task Force's Proposal for an International AHEAD Pilot Project. 

Watch this space for a report from the CETF Think Tank held in October 2011.

Leadership of the Cancer Epigenome Task Force

Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., Chairperson
University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Los Angeles, CA
pjones@med.usc.edu

Steering Committee Members 

Stephen B. Baylin, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD
sbaylin@jhmi.edu

Bradley E. Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Charleston, MA
bbernstein@partners.org

Susan Clark, Ph.D.
The University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia
s.clark@garvan.org.au

John M. Greally, M.B., B.Ch., Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, NY
john.greally@einstein.yu.edu

Peter W. Laird, Ph.D.
University of Southern California Epigenome Center
Los Angeles, CA
plaird@usc.edu

Dirk Schübeler, Ph.D.
Friedrich-Miescher-Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI)
Basel, Switzerland
dirk.schubeler@fmi.ch

Toshikazu Ushijima, M.D., Ph.D.
National Cancer Center Research Institute
Tokyo, Japan
tushijim@ncc.go.jp

Cancer Epigenome Task Force

Bruno Amati, Ph.D.
Center of Genomic Science of the
Italian Institute of Technology
European Institute of Oncology
Milan, Italy
bruno.amati@ifom-ieo-campus.it

Stephan Beck, Ph.D.
UCL Cancer Institute
London, England
s.beck@ucl.ac.uk

Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D.
Eli Lilly and Company
Indianapolis, IN
campbell_robert_morris@lilly.com

John D. Carpten, Ph.D.
TGen
Phoenix, AZ
jcarpten@tgen.org

Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
arul@med.umich.edu

Joseph F. Costello, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
jcostello@cc.ucsf.edu

Dash Dhanak, Ph.D.
Janssen Research Development, LLC (NI)
Spring House, PA
ddhanak8@its.jnj.com

Joseph R. Ecker, Ph.D.
The Salk Institute
San Diego, CA
ecker@salk.edu

Manel Esteller, M.D., Ph.D.
Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitg (IDIBELL)
Barcelona, Spain 
mesteller@idibell.cat

Kristian Helin, Ph.D.
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark
Kristian.Helin@bric.ku.dk

James G. Herman, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD
hermanji@jhmi.edu

Jean-Pierre Issa, M.D.
Fels Institute for Cancer and Molecular Biology
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
jpissa@temple.edu

Laurie Jackson-Grusby, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital Boston
Boston, MA
laurie.jackson-grusby@childrens.harvard.edu

Young-Joon Kim, Dr.P.H.
Yonsei University
Seoul, Korea
yjkim@yonsei.ac.kr

Jonathan D. Licht, M.D.
Northwestern University
Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
j-licht@northwestern.edu

Xiaole Shirley Liu
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA
xsliu.dfci@gmail.com

Huck-Hui Ng, Ph.D.
National University of Singapore
Singapore
nghh@gis.a-star.edu.sg

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA
kornelia_polyak@dfci.harvard.edu

Daniel Reinberg, Ph.D.
New York University
New York, NY
reinbd01@nyumc.org

Victoria M. Richon, Ph.D.
Sanofi Oncology
Cambridge, MA
victoria.richon@sanofi.com

Henk Stunnenberg, Ph.D.
Radboud University Nijmegen
GA Nijmegen, Netherlands
H.Stunnenberg@ncmls.ru.nl

Benjamin Tycko, M.D., Ph.D.

Columbia University
New York, NY
bt12@columbia.edu

Jun Wang, Ph.D.
BGI (NI)
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
wangj@genomics.org.cn

Staff contact:
Shawn Sweeney, Ph.D.
Senior Program Administrator
Executive Office
shawn.sweeney@aacr.org
(215)-440-9300