Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Ludwig Cancer Research team build on its TAPS method to develop an alternative to costly whole-genome sequencing for the detection of DNA methylation.

Schematic drawing of the DNA double helix

Cytosine, one of the four DNA bases, can be chemically modified by the addition of a molecule known as a methyl group to form 5-methylcytosine. This “epigenetic” modification has long been known to regulate gene expression and plays a critical role in processes like embryonic development. Its levels and distribution are also distinct in different tissues and are significantly altered in cancers. Analysing methylation patterns of DNA shed into blood and other bodily fluids by tumours can thus reveal both the presence and the location of a cancerous growth.

In 2019, Ludwig Oxford’s Dr Chunxiao Song and his team developed TET-assisted pyridine borane sequencing (TAPS) for mapping DNA methylation. The technology was spun out in 2020 to establish the biotechnology company Base Genomics, which was acquired for $410 million by Exact Sciences in October 2020. Compared to the previous gold standard for sequencing DNA methylation, TAPS is far more cost-effective and sensitive, and generates cleaner data to allow for additional genetic analysis.

Read the full story on the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Oxford) website

Similar stories

Review highlights risk factors associated with violence in schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

An estimated 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections

First comprehensive analysis of global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) estimates resistance itself caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019 - more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria - and that antimicrobial-resistant infections played a role in 4.95 million deaths.

Attention and memory deficits persist for months after recovery from mild Covid

Researchers from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences have shown that people who have had Covid but don’t complain of long Covid symptoms in daily life nevertheless can show degraded attention and memory for up to 6-9 months.

Plaster cast or metal pins to treat a broken wrist? The results are in.

An Oxford study published in The BMJ has found the use of metal K-wires (commonly known as ‘pins’) to hold broken wrist bones in place while they heal are no better than a traditional moulded plaster cast.

New book expands the horizons of brain research

A pioneering book from Professor Zoltán Molnár and Yale Professors Tamas Horvath and Joy Hirsch to be released on 1 February 2022 addresses the fundamental relationship between the body, brain and behaviour.

New research sheds light on how ultrasound could be used to treat psychiatric disorders

A new study in macaque monkeys has shed light on which parts of the brain support credit assignment processes (how the brain links outcomes with its decisions) and, for the first time, how low-intensity transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) can modulate both brain activity and behaviours related to these decision-making and learning processes.