Scientific projects

PREDICTION-ADR: The primary aim of the study is to develop genetic risk assessment and diagnostic tools for prediction of adverse drug reactions in two commonly prescribed drug classes that are used to manage cardiovascular risk, namely statins and ACE inhibitors. Drug intolerance is a major factor in lack of adherence and efficacy in both classes of drugs. The application of such drug response prediction tools is expected to directly improve patient care through individualized management of both cardiovascular risk and disease in addition to reducing health care cost. This work will be achieved through integrating expertise and complementary approaches from leading European groups in the fields of cardiovascular pharmacology, pharmacoepidemiology and molecular genetics, with clinical medicine. The study is led by Professor Colin Palmer from the University of Dundee and funded through the European Union FP7 Health project. Partners of the study include the Universities of Liverpool, Utrecht, Uppsala and the private sector firms PGXIS and Asper Biotech.

CTCTrap (Circulating Tumor Cells): In the CTCtrap consortium universities, research institutions and SMEs are linked in a common effort, starting from the simple, but innovative view of using Therapeutic Apheresis (TA), as a way to collect CTCs from peripheral blood in cancer patients. The molecular characterization of these CTCs is expected to gather new knowledge on metastasis’ mechanism, provide a risk assessment and the optimal therapy choice during the course of the disease of cancer patients. The new knowledge on CTCs heterogeneity within cancer type and within individuals will allow for the tuning of CTCapheresis to specific cancer types. Prospective pilot studies will be setup to investigate the feasibility of the CTCapheresis in the clinic and their potential therapeutic benefit. Success of CTCapheresis will lead to a radical change in the diagnosis and treatment of solid tumors.

CTCTrap consortium of eleven partners from seven countries is led by Leon Terstappen a professor of Medical Cell Biophysics of the University of Twente, The Netherlands. Asper Biotech, the Estonian partner in the project, will be involved in molecular profiling of CTCells.

TechGene: an international project with collaboration between 12 partners from 9 different countries, coordinated by Hans Scheffer, Radbound University of Nijmegen.  The project focuses on the use of massively parallel sequencing techniques for the development, optimization, and implementation of diagnostic tools for genetic disorders (sensorineural diseases). Asper Biotech’s contribution is to test hemoglobinopathies and sensorineural diseases (Usher syndrome) in WP 1 and 2.AAVEYE: an international project with contributions from 4 partners from the UK, Switzerland, Italy and Estonia. AAVEYE is coordinated by Fondazione Telethon TIGEM (Italy). The objective of the AAVEYE consortium is to develop state-of-the-art gene transfer to photoreceptors in the retina, and to provide pre-clinical proof-of-concept of gene therapy for severe blinding retinal photoreceptor diseases. The project combines leading European scientists in the fields of AAV-mediated gene transfer to the retina, elucidation of the pathogenesis of photoreceptor degeneration, and design of molecular diagnostics for inherited retinal diseases. Asper Biotech is involved with testing the patient samples of LCA and ar-RP diseases.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (GP-TCM): The project brings together a consortium of 29 beneficiary partner institutions as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises from the EU and China. The consortium is further strengthened by collaboration with more than 20 additional non-beneficiary institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and independent experts, and is coordinated by the University of Wolverhampton and King´s College London. The project will review the current status of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) research, identify problems, and propose possible solutions by applying functional genomics approaches.  Guidelines and priority areas for future research will be proposed through 3 years of networking and discussions leading to the formation of a new academic society, the European Society of TCM Research, to facilitate and foster sustainable EU-China collaboration in this area.

Colorectal cancer testing portfolio: This project encompasses a consortium of Asper Biotech and Pomeranian Medical University (Jan Lubinski). The aim of the current project is to summarize current knowledge concerning colorectal cancer and develop a full portfolio of genetic tests for the majority of hereditary and sporadic colorectal cancers. We aim to redefine the diagnosis of this cancer, allowing for earlier and more precise diagnoses that could lead to a better prognosis for treatment. Moreover, the tests could be applied as prognostic tools for high-risk groups of people with a family history of disease. As a result, a number of tests are being provided.

Scientific projects