An Academy spin-off, Cergentis, in collaboration with the Hubrecht Institute, has developed a new technology for DNA sequencing. The new technology and various applications, for example in cancer-related DNA sequencing, are described in an article appearing this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
The Targeted Locus Amplification (TLA) Technology uses the physical properties of DNA in a unique way to determine the sequence of individual genes. Whereas conventional techniques fail to detect all relevant genetic variation, the TLA Technology detects all mutations in individual genes without requiring prior knowledge of what mutations have occurred . TLA thus enables a complete but relatively inexpensive analysis of genes relevant in a.o. diagnosing disorders and/or therapeutic decisions.
The publication – which was authored in cooperation with the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the university medical centres in Utrecht, Leiden, Groningen, Amsterdam (VU University and University of Amsterdam), Nijmegen (Radboud University), and Rotterdam (Erasmus University), and the Flemish life sciences institute VIB – describes a number of ways in which TLA Technology can improve the quality of genetic research. For example, it describes TLA analyses of the MLL gene, involved in leukaemia, and the BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes, responsible for the hereditary form of breast cancer. TLA Technology identified clinically relevant variations that conventional techniques did not detect. TLA Technology also proved highly suitable for analysing foreign sequences in DNA. Such foreign DNA could be viral DNA, but it could also be experimentally introduced genes inserted into model organisms or cell systems, for example for the production of medicines.
The TLA Technology promises to make an important contribution to genetic research and the development of personalised cancer treatment.
The Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research focuses on animal developmental biology, with special emphasis on stem cells. In addition to basic research, the Institute carries out strategic biomedical and genome research. The Hubrecht Institute’s research programme is unique, both in the Netherlands and abroad. It covers the entire developmental biology of animals, from fertilisation to the adult organism.
Cergentis is a spin-off of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. Cergentis has developed the revolutionary Targeted Locus Amplification (TLA) Technology with which genes of interest can be sequenced entirely and all possible genetic variation can be detected. Cergentis’ products and services empower genetic research, genetic diagnostics and the development of personalized medicine.