The BioMed X Institute and Merck launch a new oncology project
BioMed X, an independent German research institute, has launched a new research project “Extrachromosomal DNA in Cancer” (EDC) in collaboration with the Healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
The main objective of this research group is to develop an atlas of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in human cancerous tissues and to trace the mechanisms of formation and functioning of ecDNA.
Extrachromosomal DNA refers to DNA sequences that are not located on the chromosomes. Additionally, cancer-associated extrachromosomal DNA typically contains oncogenes and regulatory regions that can provide a selective growth advantage, such as drug resistance, to cancer cells that possess it, while rapidly leading to intratumoral genetic heterogeneity. increased.
Alexandros Drainas, group leader of the EDC team, explained why this is relevant for cancer treatment.
“Oncogenic amplification plays a central role in tumorigenesis, and ecDNA is a frequent and efficient mechanism of gene amplification in cancer cells,” said Drainas.
“We need to understand the precise biology of these DNA elements in order to design more potent cancer treatments, especially for aggressive forms of cancer that quickly become resistant to therapies.”
This is the seventh collaboration on an oncology topic between the BioMed X Institute and Merck’s Healthcare business, and the third currently active project developing innovative cancer therapies.
The two other Darmstadt partner cancer research teams at the BioMed X Institute are studying RNA splicing in cancer and synthetic lethality in DNA repair. Rather than studying a particular type of cancer, the three projects aim to understand the essentials of how biology is changed in the context of cancer.
“With these three ongoing projects, we are at the forefront of deep cancer biology and in line with our vision of seeding biomedical innovation for the benefit of patients,” said Christian Tidona, founder and CEO of the BioMed Institute. X.
“Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, was our first industry partner when launching BioMed X in 2013, and we are delighted to strengthen our collaboration with them through this exciting new project.
Further details of this new research project are available at www.bio.mx.
About BioMed X
BioMed X is an independent research institute located on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Together with its partners, the institute identifies major challenges in biomedical research and proposes solutions by combining global crowdsourcing with local incubation of early-career researchers.
Each of BioMed X’s research teams has access to research infrastructure and is guided by mentors from academia and industry.