Majority of the Ras association domain family (RASSF) of genes are epigenetically silenced in numerous cancers and RASSF1A epigenetic silencing is thought to be one of the earliest detectable changes in human cancers. As such, there is a great need to understand epigenetic silencing, the biological outcome of the loss of RASSF proteins, the biological outcome of the presence of polymorphic forms of RASSF proteins and their interacting partners. Many believe that detecting epigenetic silencing of RASSF proteins may be a good prognostic marker of disease progression in cancer. The RASSF proteins are now thought to be involved in cell cycle progression, mitosis and sister chromatid separation and maintenance of cellular integrity due to its microtubule localization.  In addition, they are also involved in autophagy and tissue repair, regulating how efficiently the heart responds to hypertrophy insult and protection against the damaging effects of inflammation-induced injury (related to intestinal and pancreatic diseases to date) that may predispose individuals to cancer later in life. Thus, a meeting on the RASSF proteins is much needed to foster a collaborative venture to understand many of the aforementioned biological and clinically relevant topics and accelerate our ability to answer key questions related to the in vivo role of the RASSF family of proteins.
 
This satellite symposium is the 3rd international meeting on the Ras association domain family (RASSF) family of proteins. It will be held on May 23, 2013 immediately following the inaugural Keystone Symposia on the “The Hippo Tumor Suppressor Network: From Organ Size Control to Stem Cells and Cancer” to be held from May 19-23, 2013 in Monterey, CA, USA. A RASSF inaugural meeting took place in Banff, AB, Canada in 2009 followed by a second one in Oxford, England in July 2011. Both were quite successful and we achieved many of our goals during these two meetings. Our attendees have included a diverse selection of invited speakers, trainees, clincians and clinical nurses. Since this meeting will be held after the Hippo meeting, we anticipate the inclusion of several Hippo participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds involved in both clinical and basic research to attend our one day symposium. We will have a distinct program from the Hippo meeting with a shared poster session on May 21st, 2013 (the Hippo organizers, meeting program appears at the site http://www.keystonesymposia.org/index.cfm?e=web.Meeting.Program&meetingid=1199).
 
In 2009 we have several aims for our inaugural symposium. These aims still remain for our proposed 2013 symposium. These include to (1) bring together internationally recognized scientists and clinicians investigating the role played by a tumor suppressor gene family commonly silenced in numerous human cancers; (2) to discuss ideas and share scientific knowledge; (3) to provide a forum for young scientists in the field an opportunity to interact with experienced researchers; (4) to advance our understanding of the field and stimulate collaborative ventures that will accelerate our ability to understand cancer detection and progression, embryonic development, inflammation, and cardiac dysfunction to mention a few. We will still focus on these aims and to discuss in greater detail the possible collaborative ventures RASSF and Hippo researchers could be involved in and the future joint Hippo/RASSF meetings. We look forward seeing all at the meeting in Monterey, CA.

The photo above was courtesy of Roman Janicek as obtained from Laura Huelga, Communications Assistant, Communications and Outreach Office, City of Monterey.