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EU pumps EUR 2.9 million into cancer diagnostics project

The European Commission has awarded a grant of EUR 2.9 million to the COBRED project. Funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the COBRED project will aim to find new biomarkers for two of the most common cancers: colon cancer and breast cancer. According to Dr Lasz...

The European Commission has awarded a grant of EUR 2.9 million to the COBRED project. Funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the COBRED project will aim to find new biomarkers for two of the most common cancers: colon cancer and breast cancer. According to Dr Laszlo Takacs, CSO of BioSystems International, and COBRED coordinator, 'This unprecedented project has the power to discover new cancer diagnostics. I am happy to see the enthusiasm of participating clinicians at the cancer centres, and of scientists at the academic and industrial laboratories.' The project will seek to develop the novel diagnostics for patient follow-up (monitoring markers) by exploiting the capacity of three state-of-the-art high-throughput technologies in an integrated systems biology approach. After three years, COBRED hopes to deliver a set of biomarker/diagnostic candidates verified in preclinical studies, ready for large scale clinical validation and further development for commercialisation. Furthermore, COBRED will seek to demonstrate the potential of exploring data from different high-throughput technologies and clinical profiles with advanced data mining technologies. COBRED will also examine biomarkers for follow-up diagnostics, as novel diagnostic candidates may have the potential to aid early cancer detection via population screening. Additionally, the data gathered as part of the study may highlight poorly understood cancer mechanisms. As breast cancer is the most common cancer in European women, and colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide, diagnostics based on biomarkers have the potential to significantly improve current cancer disease management and diagnosis, providing higher accuracy at a lower cost. The project consortium hopes this will lead to direct benefits for patients and society as a whole. In addition to BioSystems International, the consortium comprises two other biotechnology firms, two large comprehensive cancer centres, three universities and a consultancy firm.