1. oktober 2020

A CIRCULAR VISION attracts major grant from EU to a group of scientists including Birgitte Regenberg from Department of Biology

Circular DNA Biology

Professor Birgitte Regenberg has just received a FET-Open grant from the EU programme Horizon-2020. Only few in Denmark have received this grant – and only two research groups at the University of Copenhagen have led similar grant in the past. This grant CIRCULAR VISION will pave the way for making circular DNA an effective biomarker for early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of disorders like lung cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.

The group of Birgitte Regenberg, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen has recently demonstrated that so-called circular DNA is a common component of human cells that is created from all parts of the human genome and is particularly associated with disease such as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Circular DNAs are more specific than other DNA molecules, and circular DNAs are found in high copy number in tumour cells. Such features can make circular DNA an invaluable tool for early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of disorders where detection is otherwise late and painful.

- ’We hypothesize that circular DNA can be used as a very early biomarker for cancer and other diseases, allowing early diagnosis and sensitive monitoring of diseases before physical symptoms occur. This means that a simple blood test could alert patients and doctors to the early stages of a disease, allowing effective early-intervention treatments that could save lives and reduce the costs of treatment’, says Birgitte Regenberg.

However, the technology for circular DNA isolation, detection and computational analysis is in its infancy.

To address this problem, this FET-Open project called CIRCULAR VISION will use lung cancer and inflammatory bowel disease to investigate the link between disease and circular DNA. Scientists will combine microscopy, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to identify new biomarkers and develop novel approaches for cancer diagnosis.

- ‘In CIRCULAR VISION, we will take a big leap forward developing technology for fast identification of circular DNA as novel and early biomarkers easily detectable in tumors and blood. This grant provides a unique opportunity for leading European experts to join forces and be on the forefront of technological inventions, scientific discoveries and commercialization in the emerging field of circular-DNA biology’, continues Birgitte Regenberg.

The overall ambition of the project CIRCULAR VISION is to create technologies that will allow circular DNA to be used as a tool for early diagnosis and ultimately cure human cells from circular DNA, making EU world leading in research and commercialization of circular DNA technologies.

FET-Open is a part of the EU Horizon-2020 programme and support the early-stages of the science research and innovation around new ideas towards radically new future technologies.

This FET-Open project ‘CIRCULAR VISION’ is a cooperation between 7 EU-research departments and the budget is at app. 4 mill €.