Cellular epigenetics, immune system and BI(G)MED: the principles of a new integrated and personalized medicine
KEYWORDS: Cells; epigenetics; immune system; personalized medicine; microRNA (miRNA); long noncoding RNA (LncRNA).
The scientific community is making steady and significant progress in understanding
of human cell biology. Currently, cellular epigenetics and the immune system are the fastest growing areas of biological research. Epigenetics describes chromatin-based mechanisms, stable in mitosis, that modulate gene expression without changing the genomic DNA sequence.
Understanding epigenetic processes holds great promise for medical applications. Cellular identity in normal and pathological processes is determined by the programmed epigenetic activation or silencing of specific genetic subsets. This epigenetic landscape is determined by multiple influences that are regulated at multiple levels and requires coordinated actions, particularly by “non-coding RNAs”, including microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs, which impact biological responses through the regulation of mRNA transcription and/or translation.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are one of the key molecules that act as epigenetic regulators because they can regulate gene expression profiles (i.e., miRNAs are the judge, jury, and executioner of stem cell fate).
MiRNAs act as an intracellular communication “language” involved in extensive molecular information exchange within the cell, regulating cellular processes and immune and inflammatory responses.
Long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) also play an important role in epigenetic regulation, as they can transcribe a large portion of non-coding DNA and play a role as disease regulators. Therefore, as the understanding of epigenetic processes improves, the ability to use this nanoscience knowledge in the clinic will improve, leading to better patient management.
Since 2010, Professor Gilbert Glady’s Immune(G)enetic BioMedicine has been contributing to the advancement of new integrative clinical applications of epigenetics using miRNAs and, more recently, very low dose LncRNAs as new targets for nano-immunotherapy. This nanoscale revolution is mainly aimed at improving cellular self-regulation mechanisms and is involved in a large number of immunodependent deregulations.
During this conference, a summary of recent advances and translational implications of the above-mentioned epigenetic molecular events will be proposed in order to understand the basic principles of BI(G)MED which focus on immunological diagnosis (lymphocyte typing, protein profiles, as well as numerous bacterial and viral serological tests but also biomarkers, such as thymidine kinase or transketolase-1) BI(G)MED offers a wide range of opportunities for precision diagnostics, prevention and nanotherapy. Satisfactory results and protocols have been widely published in international journals and presented at world conferences (e.g., WAO Chicago, Beijing, Athens and Rio de Janeiro).
As in any other area of postgraduate medical education, there is a need for specialized training of clinicians to properly manage immuno-biological diagnostic tools and personalize BI(G)Med treatment accordingly. For a long time now, training seminars have been held in Austria, Germany, France and Spain, under the coordination of the European Bio-Medicine Immuno(G)enetics Association (EBMA). There is a growing need for formal training in nanomedicine, personalized healthcare and precision diagnostics.
“The epigenome constitutes the spelling and grammar of the cell’s ancestor, the genome. From DNA methylation to histone modifications, from chromatin remodeling to non-coding RNAs, all these chemical marks and molecules facilitate the correct reading of our genetic heritage. “(Manel Esteller).