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Belgium's Walloon Region Funds $2.2M to Explore Role of DNA Hydroxymethylation in Breast Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Belgium's Walloon Region has earmarked about €1.6 million ($2.2 million) to a project aimed at exploring the role DNA hydroxymethylation may play in breast cancer, the Université Libre de Bruxelles announced today.

The aim of the CANDx project is to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for aggressive breast cancer tumors. François Fuks, head of ULB's Laboratory of Cancer Epigenetics, is coordinating the project.

DNA hydroxymethylation is a form of DNA epigenetic modification that is sometimes referred to as the sixth base. Alterations to the hydroxymethylation of DNA cytosine has been associated with various forms of cancer, including breast cancer, and according to ULB, "reading" DNA hydroxymethylation could provide biomarkers for their detection.

As part of the CANDx project, researchers will perform high-throughput sequencing to gain insight into DNA hydroxymethylation in order to investigate the breast cancer tumors of 100 patients. Longer term, the project aims to detect these biomarkers in the blood of patients, enabling the early detection of cancer and leading to more targeted and effective therapies, ULB said.