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German Researchers Use $10.1M to Investigate Early Prostate Cancer

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) –A consortium of researchers in German plan to conduct research into early prostate cancer with €7.5 million ($10.1 million) in funding.

The project was approved last month and scientists from a wide research network will begin work on it this month, members of the effort announced in a statement today. In all, the tumor cell genome of 250 prostate cancer patients ages 50 and younger will be compared with gene sequences from healthy cells of the same men in an effort to uncover gene mutations that can cause and promote prostate cancer.

With the information, the researchers hope to create a map of all genetic modifications involving prostate cancer.

Participating in the project are researchers from the German Cancer Research Center, the National Center for Tumor Diseases, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, and Martini-Klinik. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Genetics also are involved.

Funding is being provided by the German Ministry of Research and Education. The project is part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, which is seeking to capture genetic modifications in cancer.

The researchers will use various methods to capture the sequence of DNA building blocks in the cell nucleus, and then to analyze the DNA segments that contain a blueprint of proteins. They also will investigate epigenetic mutations, and small RNA molecules that regulate the activity of individual genes.

"We have high hopes for the project to find new markers for diagnosis and new treatment approaches for prostate cancer," Holger Sültmann, an associate professor at the German Cancer Research Center and coordinator of the network, said in a statement.

Guido Sauter, director of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, added, "Focusing our project on young patients is also very likely to produce findings about the causes of hereditary prostate cancer."