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European Consortium Investigating Molecular Basis of IBD

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Olink Bioscience today announced a consortium formed to advance research into inflammatory bowel diseases.

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Characterization by a multi-modal integrated biomarker study Consortium was launched in December with a €6 million ($7.7 million) grant from the European Commission's 7th Framework Program. The effort will run through Nov. 30, 2016.

The project seeks to generate "the largest collection of samples so far assembled from treatment-naïve patients" recently diagnosed with IBD, Olink said. DNA methylation, RNA transcription status, protein biomarkers, gut microbial content, and patient genotype for known susceptibility loci and clinical data will be analyzed, creating a molecular picture of IBD in its early manifestation. A list of biomarkers which may be suggestive of the onset of the disease will then be compiled.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises participating in the effort will develop assays for the analysis of panels of several hundred protein biomarkers, and develop methods for the rapid profiling of gut microbial content associated with IBD.

"The proposed biomarkers will form a solid ground for development of improved diagnostic assays and be a rich source to mine for novel therapeutic targets," Olink said.

In addition to Uppsala, Sweden-based Olink, the other members of the consortium are Diagenode in Belgium; Norway's Genetic Analysis; the Aragon Institute of Health Sciences in Spain; Linköping University in Sweden; the University of Edinburgh in Scotland; Sweden's Örebro University Hospital; Spain's National Genome Analysis Center; Karolinska Institute, Sweden; and the University of Oslo in Norway.

"The project will provide the most complete molecular characterization of samples from patients with IBD and also progress the field of analysis of large data sets containing different types of molecular markers from large sets of individuals," Mats Gullberg, project coordinator for the study and chief technology officer for Olink, said in a statement.

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