Under the leadership of the Vorarlberg Institute for Vascular Investigation and Treatment (VIVIT), a cross border cooperation is to start between hospitals and bioanalytical laboratories of the Rhine Valley and Lake Constance region. It is aimed at exploring the influence genetic material (DNA) has on the progression of breast cancer and the response to breast cancer treatment. A collaboration, which became possible thanks to the BioLAGO association.
Over the past few years, the range of treatment options for breast cancer has improved significantly. A number of therapies using new drugs will become available in the foreseeable future. Not every patient, however, responds well to these therapies. The course of disease can therefore vary considerably from one person to another, causing severe side effects in some patients. One reason for these individual differences lies in the variability of our genetic material, the DNA.
In cooperation with the Feldkirch District Hospital (Landeskrankenhaus Feldkirch) and the Lake Constance Breast Centre (Brustzentrum Bodensee) represented by the Gynaecological Hospital at the Constance Hospital (Klinikum Konstanz) as well as GATC Biotech AG, Constance, genetic alterations which influence, for example, the effect of drugs are analysed on the basis of comprehensive and well characterised patient groups, using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. “By means of tissue and blood samples, we will carefully examine certain patient DNA regions which may influence the mechanism of action or the metabolism of drugs,” explains Axel Mündlein, Head of Laboratory at VIVIT in Dornbirn.
Information gained from the genetic analysis of a breast cancer sufferer should help to derive a therapeutic approach which is best suited to the individual patient. Likewise, treatments to which patients do not respond should be excluded early on and avoidable side effects and unnecessary cost to the health care system should be reduced significantly. First results should become available by 2011, and the project is due to be completed by mid-2013. The project is co-financed with funds from the EU and the Interreg IV-Programme "Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein".
“Without the BioLAGO-platform this project wouldn´t exist “, states Axel Mündlein. The idea for the project was borne when Mündlein and Peter Pohl, CEO of GATC, a biotechnology company in Constance, met and exchanged views at an event organised by the BioLAGO-network. About a year ago the two members first came into contact within the network for modern life sciences. According to the geneticist Mündlein the advantages of the cooperation are obvious: “GATC has the latest technologies to decode the human genome at its disposal, and, in addition, the geographical proximity facilitates effective cooperation “, explains Mündlein.
The cooperation is dominated by the concept of BioLAGO, an association founded in 2007. Since mid-2008, the international network has a central office at the Technology Centre Constance and is working intensively on bringing together researchers, entrepreneurs and medical practitioners to develop new projects and products as well as to strengthen the economic position of the region. “This project proves that the integration of research and business sector within the frame of an industry –specific platform is bearing fruit “, observes Andreas Baur, CEO of BioLAGO.
VIVIT – Molekularbiologisches Labor
Dr. Axel Mündlein
Phone.: +43 5572 372 65 81
Fax +43 5572 372 65 84