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Objectives of SYS-MEL

The aim of SYS-MEL is to identify and validate prognostic and predictive biomarkers for melanoma, and to model the predictive value of these biomarkers in determining the efficacy of melanoma therapies. The central objective is to bring together four European academic institutes and two SMEs to develop prognostic/predictive biomarker assays for melanoma. Core areas of interest are epigenetics, signalling pathways in melanoma and systems biological approaches for predicting chemotherapy responses. SYS-MEL will have three main focus points:

1) Epigenomic and protein expression analysis of melanoma tissue, to validate an epigenomic signature initially identified in the FP7-funded programme, Target-Melanoma.

2) In silico modelling and prediction of patient responses to decarbazine (DTIC) using both in vitro analysis of apoptotic pathways and a novel systems biology approach, incorporating mathematical systems modelling, quantitative biochemistry and cell biology.

3) Investigating the components of the P-Rex1 pathway that are involved in driving the migration of melanoblast cells, and thus the progression of metastasis, incorporating a computational system tailored to model complex signalling pathways. This approach will enable us to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers for melanoma, and to develop a powerful computational modelling approach to predict disease progression and patient responses to treatment.