RIBOLUTION which is funded by the Fraunhofer-Zukunftsstiftung is a research alliance made up of 5 Fraunhofer institutes in cooperation with several universities. It has the goal to identify new RNS-biomarkers using a systematic genome-wide screening program and to validate their diagnostic application. At the same time the screening process itself will be technically perfected by automation and improved analytics.
Non-coding RNAs – a promising molecule class with great diagnostic potential:
Recent research has shown that a major part of the human genome is not used to encode proteins. These “non-coding” regions were initially assumed to be useless. Today it is clear that a huge number of different so-called non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are read which play a central role in cellular regulation. More and more of these ncRNAs are being linked to diseases. Therefore, they are a huge and mainly unknown reservoir of potential biomarkers for medicine.
Next-generation-transcriptome-sequencing and microarray-technologies will be used to search for RNA-based biomarkers. Biomarker candidates are being validated in large clinical cohorts using quantitative RT-PCR.
RIBOLUTION identifies novel RNA-biomarkers for selected diseases. This includes prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men with about 350 000 new cases per year in Europe. It also includes chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic airways inflammation that is currently the fourth most common cause of death. In Germany, almost 15% of persons over the age of 40 years suffer from this disease. For both diseases biomarkers are desperately needed to predict the course of the illnesses and to have the best therapy choice.
Biomarker-screening is being done on tumor samples from prostate cancer patients in cooperation with the University Clinic Dresden and the international COPD-study ECLIPSE (funded by GlaxoSmithKline).
Technical perfection of biomarker-screening:
In addition the biomarker-screening process will be optimized and perfected by RIBOLUTION with the help of technical innovations. This will make it even more reliable and cost efficient.