Epigenetic modifications are important events in regulation of gene expression and cancer progression. Methylation of cytosine (C) residues in CpG dinucleotides of promoters is associated with transcriptional silencing. Knowledge about the CpG island methylation status of pancreatic cancer-specific genes could support the development of earlier diagnostic assays and finding new treatment strategies. Several recent patents comprising some of these discoveries have been published. One recent patent describes a method of determining the methylation status of CpG sites in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and correlating it with the presence of tumour cells in pancreas. Another one suggests the usage of the high in Normal 1 (HIN-1) gene as a tool for diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma. In addition, therapeutic approaches are proposed by two recent patents applying modulators of DNA cytosine-5 methyltransferase such as Decitabine or C-5 methylcytosine. Additionally, a patent introduces a method that couples an early cancer-related and tissue or cell- specific gene marker detection assay, useful as a simultaneous screening test for cancers, including pancreatic cancer. These patents provide new methods in fighting pancreatic cancer by focusing on methylated CpG islands in pancreatic cancer related genes.
Keywords: Patents, aberrant DNA methylation, pancreatic cancer, cancer diagnostics, cancer therapeutics