BioChip diagnostic tests for acute leukemia and multiple myeloma – Erasmus University Medical Center (EUMC), Rotterdam
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. B. Löwenberg
CTMM Program manager: Eric Caldenhoven
This project targets the development of new diagnostic tests for acute leukemia and multiple myeloma (plasma cell tumor) – two life-threatening types of blood cancer for which there is still a significant failure of treatment. The challenge is to identify the different subgroups of disease, based on genetic differences in the tumors of patients with leukemia or multiple myeloma, and to assess and select the optimal treatment strategy for individual patients.
To produce meaningful results, a large amount of genetic data has to be correlated with multiple clinical parameters, involving the extensive use of bio-informatics, ICT and analytical software to determine the genetic fingerprints needed to develop new diagnostic tools and devices.
These new diagnostic devices, known as BioChips, will be based on the same micro-array technology used for genetic profiling, but will contain only those genes that are essential to determine the different subgroups of acute leukemia and multiple myeloma. Once these BioChips have been developed, they will be tested on a different set of patients to determine their accuracy and effectiveness. Furthermore, the consortium aims to develop a new diagnostic tool to monitor patients once they have received therapy.
Bob Löwenberg is Professor of Hematology and since 1990 he is Department Chair at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Between 1982-1990 he was scientific director of the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, one of the cancer institutes in the Netherlands. After graduating as an MD at Groningen University, he received his PhD, cum laude, from Erasmus University. In 1978 he spent an Eleanor Roosevelt fellowship at UCLA, Los Angeles. Professor Löwenberg’s research activities focus on the treatment and the pathobiology of leukemia, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, areas in which he has extensively published
"DIAGNOSIS IN LEUKEMIA HAS BECOME AN ART OF DISTINCTION. The ongoing discovery of genomic alterations in varieties of leukemias has revealed a dazzling diversity which markedly influences the clinical management of these diseases. The CTMM program leukemia will give an enormous stimulus to the development of various innovative technologies for diagnosis and prognosis in leukemia and myeloma that should generate new useful tools for personalized therapeutics."
- Skyline Diagnostics BV
- Crosslinks BV
- Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht
- University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
- Erasmus Medisch Centrum (EMC)
- Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR)
- VU Medisch Centrum Amsterdam (VU MC)
In response to the first call for project proposals in 2007, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) announced on April 1, 2008, that nine first-call projects would receive research funding amounting to a total of 150 million Euro. On March 10, 2009, it announced that eight new project proposals, submitted in the fall of 2008 in response to the second call for proposals, will receive funding amounting to a total of almost another 100 million Euro.
All Dutch university medical centers, plus several universities, a broad spectrum of small and medium-sized enterprises, major industry leaders including Philips and DSM, and the Dutch Government are involved.
The funding is provided by the Dutch government, industry and academia. The research is focused firmly on the ‘translational’ aspects of molecular medicine so that results can be applied as quickly as possible to actual patient care.
BioChip is one of the projects from the first call, with a total project budget of 18.6 M€ of which the Dutch government contributes 9.3 M€.
Societal benefits and healthcare savings
- Faster time-to-diagnosis and improved choice of therapy. In life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and myeloma, time-to-treatment is critical.
- Compared to current test methods, the new diagnostic tests developed in the BioChip project could reduce costs by 50% or more. Given the high volume of tests for acute leukemia and multiple myeloma performed annually - approximately 10 thousand per year - this could lead to cost savings of around EUR 25 million.
- The AMLprofiler was launched in March 2011. Estimated sales will be increasing to more than EUR 54 million by 2020.
Update 3 April 2013