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EU Blueprint Effort to Fund Epigenetic Biomarker Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The European Union plans to fund new research seeking to establish the clinical utility of epigenetic biomarkers for blood-based diseases under its Blueprint consortium program, a €30 million ($39.8 million) effort focused on advancing hematopoietic biomarkers.

The Blueprint program is supporting several projects to speed the development, validation, and use of epigenetic biomarkers in treating diseases such as myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, lymphomas, and type 1 diabetes.

So far, a software pipeline has been developed for bioinformatic analysis of large-scale DNA methylation datasets, a multi-center benchmarking study focused on DNA methylation has launched, and two discovery studies focused on candidate epigenetic biomarkers are ongoing. Now, the Blueprint program plans to fund efforts to validate epigenetic biomarkers that are based on well characterized cohorts from large randomized clinical trials, prospective cohort studies, and large-scale biobanking initiatives.

The ideal projects will lay out a "clear and consistent roadmap toward widespread clinical implementation," according to the Blueprint funding call, and will have preliminary data supporting the clinical relevance of the biomarkers they plan to use.

The Blueprint program provides funding for research projects as well as practical support with experimental assays and bioinformatic analysis of data.