The department of Cancer Genetics, Therapeutics & Ultrastructural Pathology provides a spectrum of diagnostic services based on two main disciplines: The first one is based on histopathology and involves the examination of biopsies with the use of a transmission electron microscope (only one available in Cyprus). This service provides additional ultrastructural histopathological information absolutely essential for the accurate diagnosis of neuromuscular and kidney diseases as well as a spectrum of rare diseases such as ciliary disorders. The second discipline is based on the application of molecular genetics in cancer which covers the areas of diagnosing predisposition to familial cancer (in individuals with multiple cases of cancer in the family including breast, ovarian and colorectal) in addition to the area of pharmaco-genetics which detects the presence of mutated genes in various cancers. These genes are targets for many therapies in oncology and particularly in aggressive types of cancer such as melanoma).
On the research front, the agenda of the department involves research activities in the areas of cancer genetics/epigenetics, cancer therapeutics, nutrition and cancer, among others. Specifically, the department conducts multidisciplinary research in several areas of academic and industrial interests, including:
Furthermore, the department directs the Institute’s core multi-omics facility by contributing expertise and technical competence into various ongoing research and clinical projects in need to utilize analytical instruments for performing routinely quantification experiments of known analytes (a Water’s Xevo TQD composed of a UPLC module and a triple quadrupole MS core). In 2024, this core facility will also include an LC/Q-TOF instrument with the capability to perform routine quantification and analyses of metabolites’ and lipids’ profiles, in any biological sample, at a discovery mode.
Finally, the department directs the Institute’s Biobank group by providing service into various ongoing research and clinical projects in the context of collecting, processing, storing and archiving of biological samples from patients with various diseases. The Biobank facility meets all national and European standards and a major task, in the forthcoming years, is to expand its activities and overall capacity. Currently, the Biobank facility is a full member of the European Biobanking & Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure aiming to i) develop, streamline and harmonize biobanking activities in Cyprus in line with BBMRI-ERIC; ii) serve as a strong link with BBMRI-ERIC and strengthen and consolidate CING biobanking activities with other Cypriot national stakeholders; iii) facilitate the execution and operation of population programs and promote optimal clinical biobanking activities; iv) integrate the biobank activities at CING and other National Collaborating Stakeholders into the BBMRI-ERIC framework; v) provide ethical and legal services to the national biobank stakeholders; vi) promote public awareness of the importance of biobanking in biomedical research, towards personalized medicine and better understanding of etiology; and vii) provide a voice to patients and advocacy associations.