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GenomeDenmark > Om GenomeDenmark > Cancer&Pathogen project

The Cancer&Pathogen project


KU-SNM, DTU, AAU, Herlev Hospital, Vendsyssel Hospital, BGI-Europe and Bavarian Nordic.
More partner info


What is a microorganism?
What is a pathogen?
What is an anti-cancer vaccine?


  • To develop new methods of pre-treatment for complex samples with traces of microorganisms being identified using sequencing
  • To identify unknown microorganisms in cancer samples
  • To identify new microorganisms associated with cancer development
  • To select and describe microorganisms that can lead to the development of new diagnosing methods and anti-cancer vaccines

Project description

  • The project aims to identify unknown pathogenic viruses, bacteria or parasites that might be the cause of cancer development.
  • It has been estimated that viral infection plays an essential role in cancer development in about 15 % of all cancer cases – but there are still only a few prophylactic vaccines available (for instance the HPV vaccine).
  • The project partners are looking for traces of pathogens in cancer tissue with special DNA and RNA purification techniques as well as sequencing and new bioinformatics approaches. The importance of identified pathogens with regards to cancer development is analysed, and the possibility of developing diagnoses or new vaccines are explored.
  • The basis of the project is the development of special purification and microorganism enrichment techniques as well as bioinformatics methods making it possible to identify new, previously unknown microorganisms in samples. The application of these methods goes far beyond cancer treatment.
  • The project’s most ambitious goal is to identify a new pathogen, which can be used as a starting point for the development of a new anti-cancer vaccine. This is chosen as an example to demonstrate what genomics as a technology might achieve relatively fast. This part of the project is noted as high-risk/high-gain. This means that accomplishing it will be of high value, but also that the goal might not be accomplished at all.