Molecular Dissection of Melanoma Progression
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Investigating melanoma cells to understand how they interact using biochips
The Target-Melanoma Project
Cellix was involved in the development of functional cell-based screening assays to investigate cell-cell adhesion of melanoma cell lines. We also developed an invasion assay which models flow profiles in our VenaT4 biochip.
Overall Project Aims
We are investigating the molecular basis underlying this difficult-to-treat disease, focusing on the discovery of new biomarkers (i.e. indicators) or potential targets for therapy. Specifically, several of the academic groups in this consortium bring expertise in relation to the study of melanoma progression and epigenetic mechanisms. In addition, they will be providing access to tumour samples, which will be used throughout the project.
Gene expression profiling experiments have begun to identify differences in transcriptomic patterns in melanoma progression. A key study by Winnepenninckx et al. (2006) represents one of the most extensive transcriptomic investigation of melanoma to date, where a 254-gene classifier for 4-year distant metastasis–free survival was determined.
In further experimental work, several down regulated genes were shown to be DNA methylated- which causes a loss of expression of tumour suppressor genes, which may in turn contribute to the progression of cancer . This project took advantage of this melanoma transcriptomic data, to identify novel biomarkers and functional mediators of the disease. Such information also opens the door for the identification of putative therapeutic targets.
One of the main objectives of this proposal is also to identify DNA methylation of key regulators of melanoma, which will be a key aspect of collaborative exchange within the consortium. This project also involves significant interplay between industrial and clinical spheres. By further developing and sharing our combined set of skills, we will apply the latest developments in tissue microarray (TMA), DNA methylation and in vitro techniques to fast-track validation of putative melanoma targets identified from transcriptomic screens.
The main goals of this Target-Melanoma:
Identification of methylated genes involved in melanoma progression (benign nevi to metastasis) and methylation profiling in clinical samples.
Validation and functional interrogation of melanoma progression-associated genes via tissue microarray (TMA) technologies and in vitro analysis.
Interested to learn more?
Target-Melanoma Project Website
*The Marie Curie Fellowship Industry Academia Partnership funding is available for universities, research organisations, and businesses in the EU or Associated States to provide early-stage researchers of any nationality or age with structured scientific or technological training opportunities of between three months to three years.
This project has received funding from the European Commission under funding call FP7-PEOPLE-IAPP-2008.