BioMed X and Merck launch oncology research programme

The key aim of the project will be to generate a comprehensive atlas of extrachromosomal DNA in human cancer tissues

Research institute BioMed X has announced the start of its eighth joint research programme with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The programme will explore the role of extrachromosomal DNA in cancer and is aimed to complement the research of two ongoing oncology programmes at BioMed X in the fields of DNA damage response and RNA splicing.

Extrachromosomal circular DNA (ecDNA) was recently found to be particularly abundant in multiple human cancer cells, although its frequency varies among different cancer types. Elevated levels of ecDNA have been considered to be correlated with poor clinical outcome in human cancers, the companies say.

“We are pleased to extend our collaboration even further in the field of cancer research,” Christian Tidona, founder and MD of the BioMed X Institute said. “This new programme will strengthen our expertise at the forefront of deep cancer biology which can potentially lead to better treatment options for patients.”

The key aim of the project will be to generate a comprehensive atlas of extrachromosomal DNA in human cancer tissues, to investigate how (onco)genes in ecDNA could contribute to tumorigenesis, disease progression, tumour heterogeneity, metastasis, and treatment resistance and to develop therapeutic strategies based on oncogenic alterations in ecDNA.

Further details about this call for application can be found on the BioMed X website and interested candidates are invited to apply before August 29, 2021.

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