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

Steering Committee Members 

Stephen B. Baylin, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Bradley E. Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Charleston, MA

Susan Clark, Ph.D.
The University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia

John M. Greally, M.B., B.Ch., Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, NY

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

Dirk Schübeler, Ph.D.
Friedrich-Miescher-Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI)
Basel, Switzerland

Toshikazu Ushijima, M.D., Ph.D.
National Cancer Center Research Institute
Tokyo, Japan

Cancer Epigenome Task Force

Bruno Amati, Ph.D.
Center of Genomic Science of the
Italian Institute of Technology
European Institute of Oncology
Milan, Italy

Stephan Beck, Ph.D.
UCL Cancer Institute
London, England

Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D.
Eli Lilly and Company
Indianapolis, IN

John D. Carpten, Ph.D.
Phoenix, AZ

Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Joseph F. Costello, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Dash Dhanak, Ph.D.
Janssen Research Development, LLC (NI)
Spring House, PA

Joseph R. Ecker, Ph.D.
The Salk Institute
San Diego, CA

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

Kristian Helin, Ph.D.
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

James G. Herman, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

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

Laurie Jackson-Grusby, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital Boston
Boston, MA

Young-Joon Kim, Dr.P.H.
Yonsei University
Seoul, Korea

Jonathan D. Licht, M.D.
Northwestern University
Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Xiaole Shirley Liu
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

Huck-Hui Ng, Ph.D.
National University of Singapore

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

Daniel Reinberg, Ph.D.
New York University
New York, NY

Victoria M. Richon, Ph.D.
Sanofi Oncology
Cambridge, MA

Henk Stunnenberg, Ph.D.
Radboud University Nijmegen
GA Nijmegen, Netherlands

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

Columbia University
New York, NY

Jun Wang, Ph.D.
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Staff contact:
Shawn Sweeney, Ph.D.
Senior Program Administrator
Executive Office