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BioMarket Trends : Feb 1, 2013 ( )
En Bloc Analysis of Epigenetic Publications
New Research Provides Insights into Associations
Epigenetic changes represent a fine-tuning mechanism for gene expression modulation. Epigenetic changes do not involve changes to the DNA sequence, rather chemical modifications of DNA, folding, and complex formation that render genes transcriptionally active or inactive. The existence of epigenetic controls suggests an avenue for therapeutic interventions in various disease states as well as serving as biomarkers. We have applied technology landscaping to better understand the connections between epigenetics and molecular entities.
To construct the technology landscape, we conducted a broad search in PubMed using the following general keywords: epigenetic, epigenesis, epigenomic, and epigenome. In total, we identified and retrieved 28,574 records from PubMed. The database we constructed using these records means that all conclusions drawn from the analysis incorporate an “epigenetics perspective.”
Figure 1 presents the growth rate for epigenetic publications. The shape of the curve indicates an area that is exploding onto the scene. With such a rapid growth rate, it may soon be too late for those who have not yet established a presence in the space to enter without considerable effort or an acquisition.
In order to better understand the connections between epigenetic regulatory components, cytoplasmic control system elements, selected biomarkers, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and disease states, we first divided the database into 537 segments using descriptive keywords. Keywords were chosen using text-clustering results and the scientific literature. A Table lists the keywords chosen for this study.
After completing the segmentation process, we constructed a hotspot map, an excerpted segment of which is presented in Figure 2. This interesting map illustrates several points:
In addition, Figure 3A shows that certain analytical techniques such as FRET, pyro-sequencing, and Sanger sequencing are growing rapidly. Figure 3B shows most cancer segments are growing at nearly the same rate as the epigenetics database. However, the endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) segment is growing faster than might be expected. Figure 3B hints that research focus on other diseases such as hypertension, neurological diseases, obesity, and prognostic or predictive biomarkers may be accelerating.
We believe that our epigenetics hotspot analysis is the first to use en bloc technology landscaping methods to understand connections between cancer, putative biomarkers, and epigenetics and can be used to identify niches of opportunity for product vendors and diagnostics/therapeutics developers.
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