Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


GGE: GastricGlycoExplorer, towards a systems glycobiology approach to gastric cancer

GGE was an EU-funded Marie Curie initial training network for young talented researchers that wanted to develop a career within science. 16 ambitious persons were positioned at key research sites within glycobiology, glycoanalysis and glycobioinformatics throughout Europe and received supervision from renowned academic and industrial scientist. Together GGE worked against gastric cancer by providing more clues to the questions: Who will develop cancer? What can new cancer therapies attack? Why will the new treatment strategies work better than the old treatment? A significant outcome of the program was also the contribution to glycomic workflows for identifying biomarkers relevant to the health sector, including biobanking, sample preparation, softwares, and adoption and development of diagnostic instruments and devices. The challenging questions were worked on from different angles of glycobiology research and project focus was to establish a platform of different disciplines in order to use combined efforts to analyze gastric cancer. In this way GGE allowed gastric cancer to be investigated as a system biology disease coordinating input from the disciplines of biology, technology, bioinformatics and application. By a combined approach the project aimed to discover novel biomarkers that can be used in 1) Treatment of Gastric Cancer 2) Detection and Diagnostics of Gastric Cancer 3) Data simulations, proof of concept of molecular events in Gastric Cancer.

The project has now been finalized and the collaboration has been driven by the access to clinical biobanks of patients that underwent gastrectomy due to diagnosed gastric cancer. Distribution of these samples to glycoanalytical labs including both glycomic and proteomic characterization has allowed GGE to generate a knowledge base of the glycobiology of Gastric Cancer

The main scientific results obtained at the end of this project includes:
1) An assay of combined (glyco-) proteomic biomarkers in patient sera and/or tissue that allows us to predict clinical outcomes after gastric cancer gastrectomy.
2) Increased knowledge about the glyco-pathology of the gastric carcinoma associated pathogen Helicobacter pylori
3) Validation of commercial software (KEM) available from Ariana Pharma, one of the partners, for finding association rules in clinical glycobiology programs for improved patient diagnostics.
4) A knowledge base of clinical data with associated glycobionalytical data, where we have identified 1126 rules of connectivity between clinical outcome and bioanalytics.
5) Novel commercial prototype glyco-assays that monitor gastric cancer relevant conjugates in patients sera (glycovariant of the protein CD44) and gastric tumors (increased specificity of the well established carcinoma associated Tn glycoepitopes)
6) Database softwares and tools the scientific community that enable efficient clinical glycodiscovery. These tools are displayed and available on one of the main global bioinformatic hubs, Expasy, hosted by the partner Swiss Institute of bioinformatics.

With one of the most valued assets are the people, the largest impact of this research program is the postdocs and postgrads that has been trained in this cross-collaborative project between industry and academic. This includes 16 recruited research fellows, including 12 early stage researchers, with 5 awarded a PhD during the GGE program, (four still on on its way) and 1 licentiate degree awarded. The additional ESR two were appointed to industrial partners, where a PhD degree was not anticipated. All recruited fellows are after the GGE program now pursuing a research career in industry/academic/clinic. The project has provided training for the fellows including formal courses in glycoanalytics , glycobiology , cancer, glycobioinformatics, diagnostics, bioproduction and complementary skills (2 courses, including IP rules, gender aspects and academic-industry translation). The fellows have been exposed to E-learning as part of the preparation for face-to-face training. In order to expose the students to different research environment, in total of 17 lab rotations was performed. The fellows have been involved in outreach activities to the public including fun runs, participation in research exhibitions, programs for popularizing research, talks to school pupils about research, youtube recording for popularizing research and contributing experience of women in research to career seminars.
The consortium website is available at

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