The chemist Professor Dr. Andreas Marx from Konstanz was awarded the renowned ERC Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for developing new diagnostic procedures on the basis of DNA methylation.
Similar to a diabetes quick test the new DNA methylation diagnostic is a universal and simplified procedure for an early diagnosis of diseases, among other things cancer. Moreover, the procedure provides the opportunity to tailor therapies more exactly to the patient – and thus opens the door to personalised disease control, that is exactly matched to the organism of the patient and therefore shows fewer side effects.
The five-year research project at the University of Konstanz is being supported by the European Research Council with approximately 2.5 million euros.
DNA methylation is considered as the most important epigenetic modification in human beings. The degree of methylation of cells is an important indicator of diseases and can be used for the early recognition of cancer, among other things. Present methods of testing methylation, however, have not only been work-intensive and time-consuming, but also bear a high risk of sample contamination. These test procedures have been too complex and too expensive for a broad medical application so far.
"Our approach of combining chemistry with biochemistry and biotechnology significantly simplifies these methods, thus enabling every diagnostic laboratory to run the test with established devices", comments Andreas Marx on the background of his research project ‘EvoEPIGEN’. "If we are successful, a test will no longer take some 16 hours, as is currently the case, but only two hours. This will safe nearly two days of work and the costs and risks will be substantially reduced: the test becomes suitable for large-scale use", Marx explains the importance of the simplified test procedure.
Moreover, with a simplified test the course of a therapy could be better assessed by observing the methylation patterns of DNA. In this way the therapy could be tailored more exactly to the patient and side effects of a treatment could be reduced. Thus a quick test might be an important step towards personalised medicine.
"The aim of our project is not only to promote biochemistry and its application in the medical field, but also to enhance the understanding of the effect of DNA methylation", explains Andreas Marx. The chemist and his research group intend to advance basic research in the field of epigenetics in order to tap new medical potential. "My thanks go to the European Research Council for the trust placed in me and in particular to all parties involved, as they played an important part in the preparatory work and made the project possible in the first place", Andreas Marx acknowledges.Note to editors:
Julia Wandt | idw
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy