Heidelberg – Practically overnight, a deal with Life Technologies has made the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg one of Europe’s largest centres for next-generation sequencing. At the end of June, the researchers headed by bioinformatics expert Roland Eils received 10 brand-new SOLID 4hq sequencers, six months before the instruments will be officially launched on the market. The deal is a win-win for both parties. Life Technologies, which ranks third behind competitors Illumina and Roche in the market for next-generation sequencers, has found a European partner with an excellent scientific reputation. The DKFZ will benefit from ongoing upgrades during the three-year term of the agreement. According to Eils, the DKFZ will use the sequencers for comparatative DNA analyses of brain tumours vs. normal cells in 600 children. As part of the International Cancer Consortium and one of four “Research Units for System Biology” (FORSYS) in Germany, the DKFZ is seeking to expand knowledge of brain tumour disease by describing the interrelation of genes, proteins and biochemical reactions. “Our aim is to understand the complex dynamic cellular processes that are dysfunctional in diseases,” said Eils. “In particular, we need to find out how small disruptions of those
processes can lead to diseases such as cancer.