PM.20.036 – RiboMetProsCan – targeting ribosomal RNA methylation to combat prostate cancer

Route: Personalised medicine: the individual at the centre

Cluster question: 085 Every tumour is different, so how can we come to understand cancer well enough to develop a treatment for each and every type?

Cancer is the leading cause of death in the Netherlands. Among all cancer types, prostate cancer is the most common male malignancy and the 3rd most common cause of cancer-related death among men. There is an urgent, unmet clinical need for its better diagnosis and treatment. Recently, RNA modifications were recognized as an entirely new regulatory layer in cellular biology, causing the emergence of the new scientific field of epitranscriptomics. This initiative aims to utilize the recent scientific and technological advancements in epitranscriptomics and Nanopore sequencing and generate new knowledge of prostate cancer biology much needed for the development of new biomarkers, tools, and therapies for cost-effective treatment personalized to the individual needs of each patient. The objectives of this initiative align with the three major Game Changers of the NWA-route Personalized Medicine. We propose Targeted Research to solve the unmet clinical need of identifying patients in need of aggressive treatment and provide them with therapy options beyond current regimens, while sparing others from invasive interventions and severe side effects. By joining efforts with applied science university, industry, and patients advocates we build New Alliances and ensure knowledge translation and innovation, while providing Good Education and Communication for the next generation research professionals, the general public, the industry, and the scientific community. We aim to (i) Identify diagnostic and prognostic RNA methylation marks and nucleolar morphological biomarker signatures and establish approaches for their development and use as biomarkers; (ii) Translate clinical and experimental data into new computational prediction tools; (iii) Generate and utilize breakthrough knowledge in the functional role of rRNA methylation to identify new drug targets and new therapeutic strategies; (iv) Create impact by disseminating generated knowledge and output to the relevant users, i.e. patients, physicians, industry and scholars.


biomarkers, epitranscriptomics, Nanopore sequencing, prostate cancer, ribosome, RNA methylation, rRNA, therapeutics

Other organisations

Hogeschool Leiden, NKI, ULB-Cancer Research Center


Organisation Erasmus MC (EMC)
Name Dr. E.S. (Elena) Martens-Uzunova