CLC bio building bioinformatics foundation for $4M cancer project

Groups around the world are trying to tell the difference between hard-charging and slow-growing prostate tumors as the key to providing effective treatment. Danish software firm CLC bio is working on making sense of the large volumes of molecular data collected in studies of prostate tumors, providing bioinformatics in support of a $4 million project to research the cancers.

With financial backing from the Danish Council for Strategic Research, the project aims to find new molecular markers that show which prostate cancers are wired to become deadly. CLC will develop the bioinformatics tools to support the project, which will involve samples from an extensive tissue bank, sequencing prostate cancer genomes and microarray analyses. Stepping back, the project hits on a global problem facing the care of prostate cancer patients, who often suffer side effects unnecessarily when they are inappropriately treated with radiation when they have the indolent form of the cancer that should be monitored but requires far less severe measures than radiation to keep it in check.

"Prostate cancer is a fast growing health and economical problem in Denmark with an increase of 7.9% of new cases per year for the last 10 years," Dr. Torben Ørntoft, Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said in a statement. "However, we need to develop much more effective methods of identifying whether it's an aggressive or a non-aggressive form of prostate cancer, so we can provide the right treatments fast and accurately, and thereby increase the number of patients cured, while decreasing the overall spending by preventing overtreatment."

In addition to the hospital and CLC bio, the groups involved in the project include the Bioinformatics Research Centre and the Research Unit for General Medicine at Aarhus University, the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at USC, the Department of Pathology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Shenzhen HuaDa at China-based sequencing giant BGI (formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute).

- here's the release
- see the report in GEN

Special Report: Five Prostate Cancer Diagnostics to Watch