The rise of epigenomics has been exponential over the last decade, in terms of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances as well as in the public salience of its discourse. Its impact is particularly promising in biomedicine, where epigenomic signatures are expected to bridge the gap between human genetic variation and clinical phenotypes, with possibly paradigm-shifting implications for disease classification, prognostic stratifications and therapeutic regimens. Developments are no less momentous when it comes to preventive, occupational and environmental studies, where the possibility to digitize exposures and standardize them in terms of epigenomic readouts is expected to have far reaching impacts. Unsurprisingly, the investigation of the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) of epigenomics has also started to advance, beginning to highlight commonalities and differences vis à vis the previous two decades of genome-centered focus.
The time is thus ripe to assess the impact of these advances in the context of health care delivery and policy, for whose analysis this meeting provided a timely first opportunity at the international level. The aim was to bring together leading epigenomics scientists with policy makers, clinician representatives, patient organizations and ELSI scholars in order to define the critical challenges and opportunities ahead of us in the translation of epigenomic science into healthcare practice, both at the national and transnational levels.
Giuseppe Testa (European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy)
Giuseppe Macino (Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Luca Chiapperino (European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy)
Maria Damjanovicova (European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy)