Genomics biomarkers of environmental health
This project concerns the first large-scale application of the full range of –omics technologies in a population study aiming at a) the discovery and validation of novel biomarkers predictive of increased risks of a number of chronic diseases; b) the exploration of the association of such biomarkers with environmental exposures, including high-priority pollutants and emerging exposures; and c) the discovery and validation of biomarkers of exposure to the above and other high-priority environmental exposures. The project will utilise three existing prospective cohorts. Cancer-related -omics biomarkers will be developed using a case-control study nested within 2 cohorts, which contain biosamples collected prior to disease diagnosis, exposure and follow-up health information. Biomarkers will be compared in 600 breast cancer cases, 300 Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cases and equal numbers of matched controls, to evaluate their risk predictivity. Biomarkers of chronic diseases, which establish themselves in early childhood but persist into adult life, will be evaluated using a mother-child cohort. Biosamples collected from 600 children at birth and at ages 2 and 4 years will be analysed and results compared with clinical indices obtained at age 4. Thanks to the availability of repeat samples, collected over a wide range of time intervals, the intra-individual variation of biomarkers and their relationship with disease progression will be evaluated. Biomarker search will utilize state-of-the-art metabonomics, epigenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics, in combination with advanced bioinformatics and systems biology tools. It will also include technical validation of -omics technology‟s utilisation with biobank samples. Exposure assessment will utilize exposure biomarkers, questionnaires, modelling and GIS technology. Additional data on exposure, biomarkers (including SNP data) and health indices, available through other projects, will be utilised, thus generating substantial added value.