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Screening and early detection of colorectal cancer and breast cancer in liquid biopsies using a newly-developed multi-regional methylation assay.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) and breast cancer are amongst the most common and deadliest cancers worldwide. Early detection through current screening programs for both cancers have reduced mortality, but important limitations of these methods, such as limited sensitivity, limited specificity and invasiveness, remain. There is a need for a new, minimally-invasive, cost-effective and very sensitive diagnostic test for screening and early cancer detection. Methylated circulating tumor DNA (metctDNA) biomarkers have shown great potential to discriminate between normal tissue and tumors. MetctDNA can be detected in a minimally-invasive manner using liquid biopsies, such as plasma. Currently, DNA methylation is studied using bisulfite conversion followed by next-generation sequencing or droplet digital PCR. However, disadvantages including DNA degradation, non-optimal sensitivity and specificity of subsequent techniques and limited multiplex capacities still need to be overcome. At this moment, there exists no efficient technique for the simultaneous analysis of several methylated regions in ctDNA in one assay. In our research group, we aim to develop a new, sensitive multi-region metctDNA based bisulfite-free detection technique. The technique will be used in this project to detect differential methylation signatures between normal tissue, pre-cancerous lesions and tumors. With this approach, we aim to develop a new and better assay for screening and detection of CRC and breast cancer.
Date:1 Nov 2020 →  Today
Disciplines:Molecular diagnostics, Epigenetics, Genetics, Cancer diagnosis
Project type:Collaboration project