Prof. Vandesompele / Prof. Speleman (2013)

Project details

Project start: 
Cancer in Children
Universiteit Gent (UGent)


To discriminate (ultra) high risk Neuroblastoma patients

Why ?

Neuroblastoma  is a sympathetic nervous system cancer in young children, an orphan disease.
Management of neuroblastoma patients is tailored to the risk stratification of individual patients.
The signatures are used to discriminate low/intermediate risk from high-risk patients and identify ultra high-risk patients that do not benefit from current high-risk treatment protocols

Scientific project description

Prof. Vandesompele & Speleman have teamed up to develop one integrated diagnostic test for prognosis / outcome prediction in children with neuroblastoma.

Tumor-specific m/miRNA signatures (as developed by Jo Vandesompele, project started in 2008) are invasive and not all neuroblastoma patients need a biopsy. For this reason, this follow-on project aims to develop a new non-invasive serum test based on mi-RNA.
As a second step the team will try to combine the DNA methylation (project F Speleman started in 2009) and m/miRNA signatures (project J Vandesompele) into a single m/miRNA-DNA methylation integrated signature, both on the primary tumor and serum level.

Key findings

  • Confirmation of a tumor specific 59-messenger RNA (mRNA) classifier (published in Lancet Oncology, 2009)
  • Confirmation of a tumor-specific micro RNA (miRNA) classifier in archived and fresh samples (published in Clinical Cancer Research, 2011)


  • IP has been secured on 59-mRNA signature and a 25-miRNA signatures
  • 6 publications
  • Serum miRNA  and (tissue) methylation signatures are currently being confirmed
  • Co-funding secured from the National Lottery  

Budget (original+follow-on)

Committed/spent: €992.000/€747.000

Qualification & Verification
Platform selection & Clinical Assay
Prof. Vandesompele / Prof. Speleman (2013)
Cancer in Children, Neuroblastoma

Follow-on valorization project