B News

BIOMARKED supports C4CC towards better therapies and diagnostics for Neuroblastoma


A team of fifty researchers attached to Ghent University will cycle in 3 days (May 10-13th ,2014)  from Ghent to Cologne. Passionate by their research on children’s cancer, more specific Neuroblastoma, they aim to better understand this cancer and to provide better diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Neuroblastoma is a rare children’s cancer of the nervous system usually detected in very young children. Despite the intensive treatment of patients in the high risk group, survival rate is low and there is an unmet need for better targeted therapies.

The two-yearly international congress on Neuroblastoma (ANR) takes place in May 2014 in Cologne and by cycling from Ghent to Cologne the team aims to:

–          Raise awareness for Neuroblastoma

–          Support patients and their parents in hard times

–          Raise funding for scientific research towards better therapies and diagnostics in order to give the right treatment to the right patient.

We welcome everyone Saturday, May 10th 9 am on top off the UZ parking building to wave the C4CC cyclists goodbye. We’ll do this in the company of none other than Ghent University Rector Anne De Paepe and Lieven Scheire!

Please visit our website www.c4cc.be, sponsoring can be done by sponsoring our cyclers or by donating on IBAN BE26 3900 9658 0329 BIC  BBRUBEBB (ING) mentioning C4CC.


Wafergen BioSystems Inc licenses Database containing targeted resequencing assays for the full human exome from Ghent University (UGent)

The SmartChip TE, WaferGen Biosystem’s solution for targeted enrichment clinical Next-Gen resequencing, was launched in May. The new product is based on the database  containing validated targeted resequencing assays covering the whole human exome which was developed by the UGent team of Prof Jo Vandesompele. Through UGent IOF StarTT funding and in collaboration with the UGent High Performance Computing cluster, dr Steve Lefever modified the primerXL pipeline to make resequencing assays for every human gene. A very high degree of coverage uniformity and sample-to-sample reproducibility is needed for clinical applications. The database offers the possibility to develop targeted resequencing assays on-demand (custom panels) with fast turnaround times.

For further interest in this database or custom-made databases on-demand and licensing options please contact Daisy.Flamez@UGent.be, Biomarked IOF consortium Ghent Univeristy +32 9 264 99 12.

Ghent University Biomarked consortium has its focus on the most innovative technology platform for identification and validation of novel and more accurate biomarkers for risk stratification, early diagnosis and prediction of therapy.

Wafergen Bio-systems Inc (http://www.wafergen.com)

WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc. is an innovative life science company that offers the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System—a next-generation genetic analysis platform for profiling and validating molecular biomarkers. It provides a range of high-throughput capabilities including microRNA and mRNA gene expression profiling as well as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. SmartChip TE is a new product offering for target enrichment geared towards clinical Next-Gen sequencing (NGS).



The Fondation Fournier-Majoie pour l’Innovation (FFMI) rewards UGent Profs Jo Vandesompele and Franki Speleman with the “2013 FFMI valorisation grant” offering 417.000€ for their project “ Improved outcome prediction of children with neuroblastoma using an integrated m/miRNA and DNA methylation signature”.

Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial solid cancer in childhood and the most common cancer in infancy (representing 15% of childhood death), with an annual incidence of about 1500 newly diagnosed patients in US and Europe. Management of NB patients is tailored to the risk stratification of individual patients.

Prof Jo Vandesompele received in 2008 a FFMI grant “Improved outcome prediction of children with neuroblastoma using a multigene expression signature” and Prof Franki Speleman received in 2009 a FFMI grant “A DNA methylation signature as a biomarker for prognosis in children with neuroblastoma”.

With the 2013 FFMI valorisation grant both teams (members of the Biomarked IOF consortium) join forces to develop prognostic signatures to identify patients with unfavorable outcome. The signatures are used to discriminate low/intermediate risk from high-risk patients and identify ultra high-risk patients that do not benefit from current high-risk treatment protocols.  The project aims to clinically validate the m/miRNA signatures in serum and as such develop a first non-invasive test. As a second step the team will try to combine the DNA methylation (project F Speleman) and m/miRNA signatures (project J Vandesompele) into a single m/miRNA-DNA methylation integrated signature, both on the primary tumor and serum level.

Fournier-Majoie Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, support and guide promising research projects towards development of breakthrough solutions for the benefit of cancer patients.

For further interest in this project and licensing options please contact Daisy.Flamez@UGent.be, Biomarked IOF consortium Ghent Univeristy

+32 9 264 99 12.

December 2012  Launching the Center in pharmaco(epi)genomics nxtgnt

Ghent University and MDxHealth have joined forces and will establish a new Center in Pharmaco (epi)genomics called nxtgnt. nxtgnt will bring together researchers in different expertise within Ghent University with bioinformatic teams, genomic and methylome sequencing experts.

The Laboratory for Bio-informatics and Computational Genomics (BIOBIX, FBW), the laboratory for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (FFW) and the IOF consortium Biomarked together with a research team of MDxHealth form the basis of this CoE located within the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ghent University.

Focus of the research is on the development of innovative and more efficient applications for personalized medicine, such as the identification of new potential targets for therapy, identification of new or more accurate biomarkers for risk stratification or accelerate innovation through development and preclinical validation of new diagnostic and therapeutic products.

MDxHealth is a leading molecular diagnostics company that develops and commercializes epigenetics test to support cancer treatment.


For further interest in the Center in Pharmaco(epi)genomics, interest in research collaborations please contact Daisy.Flamez@UGent.be, Biomarked IOF consortium Ghent Univeristy +32 9 264 99 12.

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