One technology, developed primarily by Professor Wolf Reik at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, is a method to induce site specific demethylation of genes. This is based on a cytidine deaminase system. Patent grants for this in the US were received earlier this year, and now the European equivalent has been received.
The technology can be used by bioscience and pharmaceutical researchers to investigate the influence of methylation and demethylation on specific gene expression within cells. This is a key epigenetic control mechanism that helps regulate cell function. When normal cell function and control is lost, disease can result. Thus the technology could be a powerful tool for understanding disease, and potentially leading to new treatments.
CellCentric is focused on drug discovery – using epigenetic knowledge to drive novel treatments for cancer. The demethylation technology is adjunct to this activity.
The relevant patent numbers are: EP 2 010 660 B1, US 8,298,529 B2 and US 8,658,393 B2.