The Gene Regulation (GR) Program Area was founded in 1999, with the goal of encouraging a strong group of UCLA researchers pursuing fundamental mechanisms of gene regulation to initiate and expand studies relevant to cancer. The Program Area's current goals are to study basic mechanisms of gene regulation in normal somatic cells, stem cells, and cancer cells, to provide sophisticated knowledge of gene regulation concepts and methodology to researchers in other JCCC program areas, and to facilitate the transition of basic gene regulation discoveries into clinical applications. We have encouraged our members to focus on cancer through activities that promote the intra- and inter-programmatic exchange of ideas, by recruiting new investigators, by providing seed funds for cancer-relevant projects, and by developing experimental methods to enable state-of-the-art studies in gene regulation. Fifteen years after the GR Program Area was established, our initial expectations have been met and exceeded. Several researchers who previously focused on fundamental mechanisms of gene regulation are now also actively pursuing studies with direct cancer relevance, including translational research.
One aim i s to leverage our current pre-translational studies into direct clinical applications. Other ongoing efforts are aimed at increasing avenues for interaction with members from other JCCC program areas. The Gene Regulation Program Area is comprised of 25 members, including four
Changes in gene expression caused by the aberrant activation of oncogenes and aberrant inactivation of tumor suppressor genes represent a fundamental property of cancer cells. Cancer cells aberrantly express, or fail to express, genes involved in growth and cell cycle control, as well as genes involved in differentiation and other physiological processes. An improved understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of gene regulation, and of the mechanisms responsible for the growth and survival of cancer cells, is likely to lead to novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.
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