Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
  Avian & pandemic flu
  Cancer
  Earthquakes
  Floods
  HIV & AIDS
  Malaria
  Stem cells
  Volcanoes
  Water
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Jamaica
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Mozambique
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  New Zealand
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam


   Special Collections

Last Update: 07-08-2014  
Related category(ies):
Health & life sciences  |  Special Collections

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Croatia  |  Denmark  |  Germany  |  Ireland  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

One step closer to understanding cancer

Understanding the cell changes associated with cancer will provide vital clues for both detecting and treating the disease. The EU-funded GlycoBioM project is contributing with tools to pinpoint disease indicators. And three years into the project, the team has already come up with a method to reduce false-positive cancer diagnoses.

Photo of two doctors

© Dario Lo Presti - Fotolia

A cure for cancer has become the Holy Grail for many medic researchers – and naturally for sufferers and their families. But before a cure is possible, scientists must first understand how the disease functions. Key to this understanding are the changes that occur in cells and cell structure.

GlycoBioM is truly a European success story, with partners from opposite ends of Europe all contributing to ground-breaking results. When the Irish (NIBRT) and Croatian teams found that certain glycans (a type of carbohydrate) can predict the speed at which colon cancer will progress (which could lead to tailored therapy – or 'smart drugs' – for individual patients), the Danish team took up the baton, developing a new glycoprofiling method to reduce false-positive cancer diagnoses, particularly among women suspected of having ovarian cancer.

In addition to the blood test for ovarian cancer, the team has made commendable progress in unravelling the complexities of breast cancer. "Our results have revealed that the tumour-associated glycan changes may be an independent diagnostic parameter in malignant disease such as breast cancer," says Professor Christoph Wagener from project partner the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) in Germany. He hopes that the results will help doctors identify the most appropriate therapy for patients.

In parallel, project members from the University of Manchester and Liverpool University in the UK have been working on an analytical tool to capture and characterise glycan binding proteins. This high-throughput technology could eventually be used in clinics to pinpoint sugar biomarkers in diseases such as cancer.

Equally noteworthy has been the team's progress in understanding diabetes, in particular the discovery of a novel glycan biomarker. The team expects to develop a system that will enable patients to check for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) – a form of diabetes that is caused by mutations in different genes.

The results all stem from observing changes to a normal cell process – called glycosylation – in patients with diseases such as cancer.

Disease indicator – how it works

In cancer cells, recognition between cells is disrupted, allowing the invasive growth and spread of tumour cells. This phenomenon is reflected in the glycans of the cell coat, which are of particular interest to researchers. In more technical terms, "Recombinant glycan protein molecules (or receptors) are used to identify tumour-associated changes to the glycans in the cell coat of tumour cells," says Wagener.

The protein molecules can be used to identify changes to carcinoma cells in tissue sections, or to classify sub-populations of leukaemia cells.

And the project is expected to generate yet more new tools for analysing glycobiomarkers in the clinic, including enhanced diagnostic imaging. This will be useful for monitoring the effects and safety of cancer therapies, bringing medical science a step closer to conquering some of the most complex and troublesome disease families of our time.

The team now holds several patents in glycomic analysis, while other researchers can already benefit from some of the team’s findings in the form of the GlycoBase online platform developed at NIBRT in Ireland, which provides tools for biomarker discovery.

The EU-funded GlycoBioM project has brought together leading European scientists to study glycosylation. Hailing from Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the UK, the team’s work to identify new biomarkers and tools for detection and diagnostic screening is breaking new ground. Personalised treatment for cancer and related diseases now look to be within reach.

 

Project details

  • Project acronym: GLYCOBIOM
  • Participants: UK (Coordinator), Germany, Croatia, Denmark, Ireland
  • Project FP7 259869
  • Total costs: € 6 806 915
  • EU contribution: € 5 199 099
  • Duration: January 2011 - December 2015

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project web site
Project information on CORDIS






  Top   Research Information Center