EnviroGenomarkers is a European FP7 research project aiming at the development and application of a new generation of biomarkers to study the role of environmental agents in human disease.
The project concerns the large-scale application of –omics technologies in a population study aiming at:
a) the discovery and validation of novel biomarkers predictive of increased risks of chronic diseases in which the environment may play an important role (breast cancer, Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood diseases including allergy, neurological and immune diseases, thyroid disruption),
b) the exploration of the association of such risk biomarkers with exposure to a number of high-priority or emerging environmental pollutants with carcinogenic, immunotoxic or hormone-line properties, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cadmium, lead, phthalates, brominated flame retardants, ambient air pollutants and water treatment byproducts),
c) the discovery and validation of biomarkers of exposure to the above environmental pollutants.
The conceptual basis of the project is depicted in the scheme.
The project uses three existing prospective cohorts:
- Cancer-related biomarkers will be developed by conducting a case-control study nested within the Northern Sweden Health & Disease Study and EPIC-Italy cohorts, which contain biosamples collected prior to disease diagnosis, dietary, exposure and life style information and follow-up health histories.
- Biomarkers related to chronic diseases, which establish themselves in early childhood but persist into adult life, will be evaluated using the Rhea mother-child cohort on the island of Crete.
Biomarker searches utilize state-of-the-art metabonomics, epigenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics, in combination with advanced bioinformatics and systems biology approaches. Exposure assessment utilizes established exposure biomarkers, questionnaires, modeling and geographic information systems (GIS)-technology as well as additional data derived from other projects.