Epigenetics is a mechanism which regulates gene expression without any changes in the gene sequence. Mechanism of epigenetics is mainly governed by DNA methylation and Histone deactylase (HDAC) modification, the two major mechanisms involved in the gene transcription process, regulated by enzymes DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) and histone acetylase/deacetylase. In 1990s, it was cited that alteration in the activity of DNMT and HDAC enzyme leads to the silencing of tumor suppressor genes, leading to progression of tumor and other non oncology diseases. Thus, over the past decades the scope of this market has increased manifold. Scientists are taking interest in indentifying inhibitors which possess the capability of stopping the altered enzymatic activity and activate the tumor suppressor genes. As a result, drugs manufactured for this purpose possess a targeted approach and are capable of altering the modification. Thus, industry experts believe that the increase in incidence rate of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis, and the aging global population will revolutionize the market for epigenetics.
Increasing incidences of oncology and non oncology indications are expected to boost the demand of epigenetic therapeutics and technology market. Transparency Market Research, a leading U.S.-based market research firm, analyses the market for epigenetics drugs and diagnostic technologies and predicts a compounded annual growth rate of 19.4 % for the period 2012-2018.
Diseases such as cancer, brain disorders and arthritis are most commonly observed in the population above 60 years of age. It was observed that in the U.S., around 55.7 million people died in 2012 due to various types of cancers (prostate, lung, AML, colon). Epigenetic diagnostic tests are manufactured for prognosis of these diseases in early stages. These diagnostic tests identify the altered DNA methylation and histone modification level at an early stage of disease with accuracy. Many screening kits currently available hold the potential of identifying the disease when they reach their late stage and treatment becomes difficult. Thus, epigenetic technologies give an early insight into the concerned disease and allow further proceeding with the treatment. This indicates the huge scope for the development of better and advanced epigenetic drugs and diagnostic technologies in the coming years.
Drug manufacturers are focusing on the development of epigenetic drugs, for the treatment of cancers and other diseases. Currently, four drugs are commercially available, namely Vidaza, Istodax, Dacogen and Zolinza with their specific inhibitory action on DNMT and HDACs. Epigenetics drugs have shown positive results in treating the disease with fewer side effects as compared to the already available drugs. At present, there are over 12-15 epigenetic drugs in the pipeline. Results from these pipeline drugs are being studied for multiple indications as a single drug or in combination with other drugs.
Advancements in technology such as ChIP-seq, bisulphate sequencing and microarray analysis also support the growth of epigenetic diagnostic technologies market. It can thus be concluded that the future of epigenetics holds immense potential with the rise in cancer incidences, aging population and demand for high quality prognosis.