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First Biomarker Experts Workshop in Heidelberg Successful

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A panel of more than 30 experts in molecular diagnostics participated in the first workshop of the Biomarker Discovery Center (BDC) held on September 29, 2009 in Heidelberg. Scientist from universities, hospitals and industry presented their recent research on identification and validation of latest-generation biomarkers, discussing the key technological and clinical requirements.

“A novel type of biomarkers uses DNA and microRNA features that correlate with the risk or manifestation of complex diseases. These biomarkers will significantly enhance the accuracy of diagnosis and prognosis in various disease settings. Using genetic marker patterns, therapies can be tailored specifically to the requirements of the individual patient,” febit CSO Peer Staehler explains the clinical potential of the novel biomarkers.

Staehler opened the BDC workshop together with Prof. Ottmar Wiestler (Chairman and Scientific Director of the DKFZ; German Cancer Research Center), Prof. Andreas Trumpp (DKFZ Research Division Stem Cells and Cancer) and Dr. Armin Pscherer (BioRN Cluster Manager).

In February 2009, the Biomarker Discovery Center Heidelberg was initiated as a component of the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) Excellence Cluster Initiative. The projects of the companies involved in the Biotechnology Excellence Cluster Rhine-Neckar (BioRN) are supported with 40 million Euros of BMBF funds for the development of diagnostic products and technologies in the field of cellular and molecular biology.

Aiming at the development of novel tumor markers, the BDC will merge the technological expertise of febit with the medical diagnostic experience of the DKFZ and other scientific institutions. The BDC uses high-throughput sequencing combined with febit´s HybSelect technology and a bioinformatics system specifically developed for this project. febit´s flexible microfluidic biochip enables rapid and efficient detection of the markers identified in the tumor marker project. The bioinformatics system is used for data analysis and serves as a central database for the collaborating partners in the excellence cluster.