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Understanding and Tackling Prostate and Colorectal Cancer Through Unlocking the Cancer's DNA Code

LEIDEN, The Netherlands, February 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

With a large contribution of the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM), a new Dutch consortium will study the relationship between DNA aberrations and the development of both prostate and colorectal tumours. The project application has been filed by the Erasmus Medical Center, ServiceXS B.V. and the VU University Medical Center and will be coordinated by professor Guido Jenster (Erasmus MC). They have received funding of 1 million euros for this project called "NGS-ProToCol".

Cancer and DNA

Cancer is a disease of the DNA, caused by changes in the genome of normal cells, resulting in cancer cells with the ability to continuously grow and to respond variably on anticancer treatments. In order to understand why normal cells become cancer cells and how we can identify and destroy them, the researchers in this project want to uncover all the DNA changes in a large set of individual tumors. Particularly for common tumor types such as prostate and colorectal cancers the researchers hope to make a serious impact and improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Recent developments in the area of genome sequencing (also called next-generation sequencing) make it possible to discover all mutations in a tumour in a single experiment. By analyzing the genome and transcriptome of multiple prostate and colorectal tumours, the researchers expect to discover and validate markers useful for finding tumors in an early stage and for predicting the aggressiveness of the disease. In addition, the genomic information will result in the identification of novel cancer proteins for which new therapeutic drugs can be designed.

Website: http://www.ctmm.nl/en/projecten/translational-research-it-trait/ngs-protocol

Background information NGS ProToCol

The study project has been named NGS-ProToCol and aligns well with the expertise and the ambitions of the Erasmus MC and VUmc in the field of cancer research and that of ServiceXS in the area of genome and transcriptome analyses. The researchers at the Erasmus MC will study in prostate tumours how DNA mutations will influence the nature of the tumour, whereas VUmc will perform similar analyses in colorectal tumours. Being a pioneer in the area of genome sequencing, ServiceXS will perform the DNA and RNA sequencing experiments. The researchers expect to be able to come with results within 2 years.

NGS-ProToCol extends the genomic work initiated by two other CTMM projects: Prostate Cancer Molecular Medicine (PCMM; coordinated by Prof. dr. Chris Bangma, Erasmus MC) and Decrease Colorectal cancer Death (DeCoDe; coordinated by Prof. dr. Gerrit Meijer, VUmc). Within these consortia, DNA and RNA analyses already identified candidate biomarkers that with next-generation sequencing technologies will be validated in NGS-ProToCol. In addition, the challenging and complex workflows for NGS data management and data processing will be captured and made publicly available through a third CTMM project, TRAnslational research IT (TraIT; coordinated by Prof. dr. Gerrit Meijer, VUmc).    

About CTMM

The CTMM (Center for Translational Molecular Medicine) is a Netherlands-based public-private partnership. It is dedicated to the development of technologies in molecular medicine that enable early diagnosis and personalized treatment for main areas of disease causing mortality and diminished quality of life in the western world. Focus lies on oncology, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious/auto-immune disease. CTMM operates by inviting, assessing and funding multidisciplinary projects that involve active participation by Netherlands-based academia and industry. All CTMM projects are judged by an independent International Advisory Board and approved by a Supervisory Board based on their significant potential to translate research knowledge into clinical practice. The CTMM is funded by the Dutch government (50%), academia (25%) and industry (25%). Additional funding is provided by supporting foundations on behalf of patients.

Key figures CTMM: 122 partners, M€ 302.7 allocated budget until the end of 2015, 25 projects/consortia


About Erasmus MC and VUmc

As centres of medical innovation, the Erasmus Medical Center (Erasmus MC) and VU University Medical Center (VUmc) play an (inter)nationally recognized leading role in cancer research. The core tasks of the both centers are research, education, patient care and training. Both hospitals are part of the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU). The NFU is a cooperation of the eight University Medical Centers in the Netherlands.



About ServiceXS B.V.

ServiceXS is a service company in the area of molecular genetics and is based in Leiden, The Netherlands. In 2006 ServiceXS was the first company in Europe to offer next-generation sequencing services. Recently, ServiceXS was the first service provider world-wide to acquire Ion-Proton equipment, which offers new possibilities for whole-genome genetic analysis and will be used for this first Dutch large-scale cancer genetics project.


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