The Keystone Program in Epigenetics and Progenitor Cells studies two groundbreaking new views of the origins of tumors, with the goal of developing new strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The first view looks at cancer through the lens of a field called epigenetics. Research conducted at Fox Chase and elsewhere has shown that heritable changes in the way genes are turned on or off ó which donít involve DNA mutations ó can also contribute to cancer.

The program also explores the role of so-called progenitor cells in the genesis of cancer. Recent research shows that for many or even most cancers, a subset of cells known as progenitor cells, or cancer stem cells, is disproportionately responsible for tumor formation and maintenance. These cells are typically resistant to current cancer therapies and are often responsible for relapse.

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