American Genome Company go to Study DNA of Dutch Patients

A better understanding of complex diseases through collaboration Erasmus MC and Complete Genomics

The American company Complete Genomics will study 250 DNA samples of Dutch patients with cancer or congenital disorders over the coming year. Erasmus MC will supply the samples to Complete Genomics, a company specialized in uncovering genetic factors that play a role in certain diseases. This collaboration will enable researchers to learn more about the development of complex diseases.

The samples will be taken from patients with cancer and congenital disorders such as craniosynostosis, a condition in which the growth of a child’s skull is restricted. Erasmus MC has joined forces with AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center) and the Dutch Blood bank (Sanquin) to provide the samples.

Complete Genomics has commercialized an innovative platform for the unravelling of entire human genomes. A genome holds all the information of an individual’s hereditary traits. “The collaboration focuses on diseases for which even with today’s technology it has not been possible to trace all genetic variants”, says Peter van der Spek, Professor of Bioinformatics at Erasmus MC.

Complete Genomics will help Erasmus MC to study the genetic variations of the diseases better. The images made by the company have, for example, a higher resolution and greater sensitivity than was previously possible. Van der Spek: “The collaboration is promising. We hope that the collaboration will give answers to scientific questions that have as yet remained unanswered. This will result in the development of better treatments for diseases such as cancer.”

The cooperation will enable Erasmus MC to use the latest technologies in the field of the unravelling of entire human genomes. The devices needed to do this are expensive and the developments in this field are extremely rapid. New devices hit the market very quickly. It would not be feasible for Erasmus MC to purchase its own device. The collaboration means that Erasmus MC can still benefit from the latest technologies and stay ahead in this field.

Furthermore, both organizations have agreed that Complete Genomics can use Erasmus MC’s Bioinformatics training center to train geneticists to interpret the genome data. “The center has an ideal location in Europe”, according to Complete Genomics.

Het Erasmus MC maakt deel uit van de Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra (NFU). De NFU is een samenwerkingsverband van de acht universitair medische centra (UMC's) in Nederland en heeft als algemene doelstelling het behartigen van de gezamenlijke belangen van de UMC's. Andere UMC's die deel uitmaken van de NFU zijn het AMC, azM, LUMC, UMCG, UMC St Radboud, UMC Utrecht en VUmc. In totaal zijn 60.000 medewerkers verbonden aan de acht UMC's.


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