9 July 2020

Oncode funds project on clinical implementation of the MeD-seq assay

Elize Brolsma

Oncode created the clinical Proof-of-Concept fund (cPoC) to support the clinical translation of Oncode’s fundamental research. Together with support from our OEDES team, Clinical Advisory Board and Valorization team, Oncode Investigators - together with a clinician - develop their research into pre-clinical and clinical projects.

We are pleased to announce that the 11th grant within the cPoC programme has been awarded to Oncode Investigator Joost Gribnau (Erasmus MC)*. Together with colleagues, he will work on the clinical implementation of their recently developed MeD-seq assay. The goal of the project is to deliver proof of concept of the clinical applicability of their MeD-seq assay, which is able to detect tumor-specific epigenetic patterns in the circulating cell-free DNA in the blood of patients. The researchers will evaluate whether this assay can predict early recurrence in colorectal cancer patients with surgically removable liver metastases.

The MeD-seq assay examines epigenetic changes in tumor derived DNA, providing the patients with a more accurate prognosis soon after their surgery. The test will also enable a more personalized treatment, expected to improve outcome, by selecting those patients in need of additional treatment. In patients that have a low risk of early recurrence, the test may render follow up visits redundant, thereby reducing the amount of unnecessary anxiety for patients.

Joost Gribnau says: “Epigenetic modifications are subtle changes of DNA or DNA associated proteins that affect gene expression through multiple generations. Cancer progression is often associated with massive changes in the epigenetic landscape, and therefore often a good predictor for cancer progression and treatment outcome. Although cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cancer cells, many cancer cells undergo cell death during tumorigenesis, whereby fragmented DNA of cancer cells can be found in the blood of the patients as part of the so called “cell-free” DNA in the circulation. We recently developed MeD-seq, a very simple assay to map DNA methylation, one of the best studied epigenetic modifications. The aim of our study is to apply MeD-seq on cell free DNA of colon carcinoma patients who underwent surgical resection of liver metastasis. With this project we want to be able to detect tumor-specific DNA methylation profiles that can be used to predict the onset and/or recurrence of disease in colon carcinoma patients.”

*Oncode Investigator Joost Gribnau works together in this project with Prof. dr. Stefan Sleijfer (clinician), Prof. Dr. Kees Verhoef (clinician), Prof. dr. John Martens, Dr. Saskia Wilting and Drs. Ruben Boers (Oncode researcher).

Other News

A brand new video series about the Clinical Proof of Concept landscape
As part of the Clinical Proof Concept programme, the Oncode Exploratory Development Expert Support (OEDES) team has created a video series wherein they take you on an informative journey through the landscape of Clinical Proof of Concept. In this way, the OEDES team provides guidance and advice for Oncode Investigators and Researchers when it comes to translating our fundamental scientific insights into new diagnostics and therapeutic strategies.
Oncode Icons Square research strategy
The platform that allows researchers to fully exploit available CRC studies is now available
The translation and validation of pre-clinical findings is often hampered and delayed due to unfamiliarity of basic researchers with trial cohorts providing valuable patient materials. But the new and updated CRC platform will contribute to changing that.
Shedding light on viral infections
In times of a pandemic, there is not a day that goes by without news about viruses. Still, the newest paper from the lab of Oncode Investigator Marvin Tanenbaum, performed in collaboration with the group of Frank van Kuppeveld (University Utrecht), is something special.