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Project Focuses on Discovery of Early Cancer in Women

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 26 Feb 2013
Scientists are focusing on the early detection of breast and ovarian cancer with the goal of developing a test to identify tumor markers present in blood and link these markers to the presence of cancer.

Partners in the project called EpiFemCare, include GATC Biotech (Constance Germany), which will manage sample processing, i.e., the DNA isolation from serum and the reduced representation bisulfite sequencing from serum derived DNA. This method analyses DNA methylation in normal and tumor DNA.

In addition, 6 institutions from 5 European countries combining clinical, scientific, and industrial expertise will add a new dimension to the treatment of cancer in women. The USD 7.8 million project from the European Commission will develop and test new methods for screening, diagnosing, and personalizing treatment of breast and ovarian cancer.

“We are proud of being a partner within the development of a DNA-based blood test that promotes new ways of diagnosing and treating patients with breast or ovarian cancer. The processing of samples in our ISO 17025 certified Genome & Diagnostic Center is one of our key competences”, commented Peter Pohl, CEO of GATC Biotech AG.

The collaborative project is led by Prof. Martin Widschwendter from the Department of Women’s Cancer at the University College London (United Kingdom). Collaborators include Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), Ludwig Maximilians University (Munich, Germany), and companies with expertise in epigenetics and next generation screening (GATC Biotech, Germany), managing, and analyzing the large volumes of data created by these experiments (Genedata; Switzerland).

Implementation of successful screening programs has dramatically reduced the number of women dying from cervical cancer. Similarly, the EpiFemCare project aims to reduce the number of women who receive a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer when that cancer is already advanced by 50%, also reduce the number of women who receive unnecessary long-term chemotherapy by 50%, and reduce the number of women dying from these female cancers by 20%.

Related Links:

GATC Biotech
Department of Women’s Cancer at the University College London



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