Test could be validated as prognostic test for colorectal cancer and predictive test for cancer immunotherapies.
Biocartis Group NV ('the Company' or 'Biocartis'), an innovative molecular diagnostics company (Euronext Brussels: BCART), today announced it has received an approximately EUR 750k grant from VLAIO, the Flanders organization for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The grant supports Biocartis' ongoing microsatellite instability (MSI) and mutational load research program in collaboration with Prof. Diether Lambrechts (VIB - KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Belgium), and aims to support the development of a fully automated MSI test on the Company's Idylla(TM) platform. The test will be based on a set of novel MSI markers identified by Prof. Diether Lambrechts' laboratory, which were exclusively licensed to Biocartis from VIB in 2013.
The fight against cancer is a long and tough one, with many battles still to be won – but we are gradually gaining ground. One battlefield currently growing in importance is the cell metabolism. Thanks to the fine work of our VIB colleagues at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, a number of essential breakthroughs were made during the last few months. As they are closely intertwined and may seem quite similar at first glance, we shed more light on the recent publications and mutual collaborations of Massimiliano Mazzone, Sarah-Maria Fendt and Peter Carmeliet.
A group of researchers lead by Diether Lambrechts (VIB-KU Leuven) explored the mechanisms that cause increased levels of methylation in tumor genes — information that is vital to the adaptation of therapies to fight different types of tumors. Methylation is one of the ways that gene expression is different in tumor cells, which leads to different conditions inside a tumor. One of the changes that occur in solid tumors is a lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, which leads to the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.
The lack of oxygen in tumor cells changes the cells’ gene expression, thereby contributing to the growth of cancer. This is the main conclusion of a research project led by professor Diether Lambrechts and Dr. Bernard Thienpont (VIB-KU Leuven), which was published in the renowned scientific journal Nature. The findings are far-reaching, as the study also proved that maintaining a proper oxygen supply in tumors inhibits these so-called ‘epigenetic aberrations’. The paper’s insights could eventually lead to new anti-cancer drugs that target blood vessels or the epigenetic aberrations.