22 November 2013
First Barcelona Conference on Epigenetics and Cancer Exceeds Expectations
5 Centres Organize the BCEC Series
The first Barcelona Conference on Epigenetics and Cancer (BCEC): Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives, was declared a big success. The event was co-organized by Manuel Perucho and Marcus Buschbeck the IMPPC and B-Debate, with the participation of Biocat and "la Caixa" Foundation.
The BCECs are a new concept in that they are a series of conferences jointly organized by five of the leading biomedical research centers in Barcelona to bring world-class scientists to to discuss hot topics in this rapidly advancing field.
The IMPPC organized the first conference in conjunction with B-Debate. The program offered a a wide overview and the following conferences will focus in on specific areas.
A very strong program featured a master class in different techniques that have clinical applications by Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch in the EMBO Keynote Lecture.
In his closing remarks, organizer for the IMPPC Dr. Marcus Buschbeck confirmed that this is an exciting moment for the field of epigenetics, in fact, in the words of Andy Feinberg: one of the unexpected benefits of the Human Genome Project has been the explosion of the field of epigenetics. Dr Buschbeck highlighted four particular areas:
- There are still many new chromatin modifications to be discovered, as shown by the talks of Antonis Kirmizis and Tony Kouzarides
- Established dogmas are being challenged, as demonstrated by the presentations of Marcus Buschbeck and Thomas Jenuwein
- New tools are constantly being discovered and these are bringing insights into completely new aspects and are opening possibilities for using epigenetic information for clinical diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. This was evident from the exciting talks given by Amos Tanay and Bing Ren, amongst others
- The first epigenetic drugs have now reached clinical practice and many more are at different places in the pipeline, as explained by Manel Esteller and Manfred Jung
The conference was heavily overbooked and nearly completely full for most of the sessions. The organizers were extremely encouraged by the great interest from sponsors and counted on the support of a gold sponsor; Perkin Elmer, three silver sponsors and 14 other sponsors and media partners. Speaking for the organizers Dr Buschbeck said, "Given the current economic climate and general low morale in the research community, this joint conference has been an unprecedented success."