NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Baylor Research Institute (BRI) and Eureka Genomics have agreed to partner to study genomic data in an effort to find out if a virus may be involved in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC).
BRI said today that in the collaboration it will apply its clinical resources relating to CRC and its intellectual property related to JC virus.
Also under the agreement, Eureka will use its bioinformatics system to analyze large amounts of next-generation sequencing data in order to explore the virus' potential role in CRC and possibly to identify other genetic or microbial factors.
Researchers at Dallas-based BRI, which is the research branch of Baylor Health Care System, have previously conducted studies that "strongly" suggest that the JC virus is responsible for starting some or most colorectal cancers, and it wants the collaboration with Eureka to further validate this observation.
"This collaboration represents an opportunity to use next-generation DNA sequencing techniques – or deep sequencing – to look for non-human DNA sequences in colon tumors," Richard Boland, BRI's principal investigator and chief of gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center, said in a statement. "It will help us know how many copies of the virus are present in tumor tissues, whether the virus is integrated [with human DNA] or, as we think, exists as an independent 'parasite' in the nucleus.
"The long-range implications are that one could eventually immunize against this virus with the hope of preventing or delaying the development of many tumors," he added.
BRI and Eureka will jointly own any intellectual property relating to biology or etiology of cancer that springs from this collaboration, and revenues from any potential diagnostics and treatments resulting from the validation program will be shared, according to BRI.