DNA methylation is a powerful biomarker compared to RNA and protein biomarkers. In recent years, methylation biomarkers have been widely used for research and for the development of new diagnostic assays and development of new therapeutics for cancer and a number of other disorders.
To date, detection of methylation is limited to the analysis in cell mixtures with techniques such as methyl-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite sequencing. DNA methylation is cell type-specific. When using the above techniques, the histological context is not taken into account, whereby essential cell type specific information is often lost.
A new diagnostic method "Methylation in situ hybridization" (MISH) was developed at UGent, which makes it possible to identify methylation changes in individual transformed cells.
Now we want to further develop the technology to a stage where a spin-off company can be started. This includes a number of challenges. Our goal in this Advanced project is: (1) To build software to design probes more efficiently and reduce the cost of probe production, (2) Standardization of the method for routine / in service application on FFPE samples, (3) A obtaining technical validation that the method works on the one hand for use in smears and on the other hand for the detection of a combination of biomarkers (broader market), (4) Developing a portfolio of tests that can be further developed into products after the project (via co-development or via licenses), (5) Develop a financial plan and a business plan and bring together a spin-off team.