Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Epigenetics – IX. Diseases (1 of 2)

We are beginning to realize that many illnesses are linked
to epigenetics mechanisms.  The list is long and it includes
cancers of all types, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive,
autoimmune, and neurobehavioral diseases.  Known or suspected
agents behind epigenetics processes include heavy metals,
pesticides, diesel exhaust, cigarettes, hormones, radioactivity,
viruses and bacteria.  The need to understand epigenetics and
epigenomics (the genomewide distribution of epigenetics changes)
has recently come sharply into focus.  This knowledge is a very
important tool to fight the many debilitating diseases that are
still plaguing humankind.

Inherited diseases until now seemed inevitable.  Cancer,
cardiovascular diseases, or dementia were destined to happen to
you if one or more of these illnesses has been running in your
family for generations.  This so far has been the accepted
wisdom.  But is it true?  No, thanks to epigenetics we can
overcome these curses.  But how can it be accomplished?  While
epigenetics is opening the door to some amazing medicines and
treatments, the solution is decidedly low-tech!  It goes back to
mother’s advice:  Eat your vegetables, eat less meat, do not
smoke, do not drink to excess, take a gym membership, and
generally keep body and mind stimulated.  Your mom didn’t know
it, but in so doing, you are altering your genetic destiny!

For instance, the health benefits of a proper diet and
exercise will actually modify the expression of our DNA, such
monsters as kidney diseases and Alzheimer which are lurking
within our genes can be banished.  Put in a more direct way,
let’s stop looking in the direction of scientific labs, the cure
in many cases depend on what we eat and how active we are.  The
cure in other words is in our hands.


Many researchers engaged in epigenetics research are
targeting cancer.  Dr. Peter Jones, Director of the University of
Southern California’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centre view the
evidence linking epigenetics processes with cancer as “extremely
compelling.”  The Chief of the Carcinogenesis Division of Japan’s
National Cancer Centre Research Institute, Dr. Toshikazu
Ushijima, points out that epigenetics processes are one of the
five most important factors in the cancer field, and they account
for one-third to one-half of all known genetic modifications.

Under “Imprinting and Diseases” an important point was made.
I am restating it here.

In cancer, some tumor suppressor genes that come from the
mother are turned off in error, and the growth-limiting protein
can no longer be produced.  Along the same line, many oncogenes
(growth-promoting genes) originate with the father.  On occasion,
we can have a double whammy, both sets of genes can malfunction;
if the maternal copy of the oncogene loses its epigenetics marks
and is turned on as well, cell growth gets out of control.

In Johns Hopkins University, research is conducted to
understand the mechanism behind imprinting.  Hopefully, in time,
drugs or treatments will be developed to address the above
epigenetics errors.

Autoimmune Diseases

Malfunctions related to the epigenetics immune system can
occur, and can be reversed.  The research was published in the
November-December 2005 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research
by Nilamadhab Mishra, an Assistant Professor of Rheumatology at
the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and his

The team has established a specific link between aberrant
histone modifications and mechanisms underlying Lupus-like
symptoms in mice; there is a drug in the research stage,
Trichostatin, that can reverse the abnormalities.  This medicine
appears to reset the aberrant histone changes by correcting
hypoacetylation at two histone sites.

One more example of this type of research.  Dr. Bruce
Richardson, Chief of the Rheumatology Section of the Ann Arbor
Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and a professor at the University
of Michigan Medical School reported that pharmaceuticals such as
the heartdrug Procainamide and the antihypertensive agent
Hydralazine cause Lupus in some people.  He demonstrated that
Lupus-like symptoms in mice exposed to these drugs is linked with
DNA methylation changes and interruption of signalling pathways
similar to those in people.

Comments are closed.