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Genedata Enables Research to Improve Personalized Treatment of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Published: Saturday, April 06, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, April 05, 2013
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Genedata collaborates with leading European institutions on the development of blood tests for early detection of major female cancers based on epigenetic markers

Genedata, a leading provider of advanced software solutions for drug discovery and life science research, today announced its partnership with EpiFemCare, the EU-funded research project that will improve the diagnosis and therapy of breast and ovarian cancer. Genedata scientists will manage, process and analyze terabytes of epigenetic and clinical data from next-generation sequencing, microarray and qPCR experiments to help identify, confirm and clinically validate biomarkers. These should lead to significant improvements in early cancer detection and subsequent patient care. The project will also use Genedata Expressionist®, the leading data analysis and management platform for oncology research.

One of the project's research challenges is the management of complex and large datasets produced by next-generation technologies (e.g. like sequencing, Illumina Infinium arrays and digital qPCR). Genedata scientists will use Genedata Expressionist to identify the most relevant DNA methylation sites, within tens of terabytes of data, which can accurately diagnose breast and ovarian cancer. Resulting biomarkers will be confirmed by independent sample sets and finally validated in large clinical cohorts with over 200,000 patient samples from which over 7,000 will be tested. Genedata Expressionist will be used for its intuitive data visualization, rigorous statistical algorithms, innovative biological interpretation and efficient management and integration of data from various sources and different technology platforms.
"Currently, many women face a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer or breast cancer over-diagnosis due to lack of suitable early-detection tests and over-zealous screening procedures," noted Professor Dr. Martin Widschwendter, the EpiFemCare project coordinator, from the Department of Women's Cancer at the University College London "We look forward to collaborating with Genedata and using their epigenetics and oncology expertise to develop innovative blood-based tests with increased sensitivity to ovarian cancers and increased specificity for breast cancers."

Innovative and collaborative, the EpiFemCare project is partially funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7). In addition to Genedata, project collaborators include: Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic); Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany); EURAM Ltd (Nottingham, United Kingdom); and GATC Biotech (Konstanz, Germany). EpiFemCare research aims to reduce by 50% the number of women who receive a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer when that cancer is already advanced, reduce by 50% the number of women who receive unnecessary long-term chemotherapy, and reduce the number of women dying from these female cancers by 20%.

"The EpiFemCare project is tackling the next frontier in the fight against breast and ovarian cancers -- to facilitate early detection of disease and better prediction of therapeutic outcomes -- and we are eager to contribute our epigenetics know-how to EpiFemCare's success," said Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata. "We hope our experience and expertise in the management and analysis of complex datasets in the context of epigenetics and oncology research will help improve methods for screening, diagnosing and personalizing treatment of breast and ovarian cancers."

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