QIAGEN has launched EpiTect product portfolio for epigenetics which standardizes solutions covering all steps of epigenetic research processes in molecular diagnostics, pharma and life sciences.

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies. Epigenetics focuses on the study of various phenomena which are linked to the genome but do not result from genetic variability. One of the major mechanisms which has been identified to regulate gene expression is a chemical modification of the DNA called DNA methylation, acting like an "on" and "off" switch for genes.

 As DNA methylation is believed to play a major role in many diseases, in particular cancers, epigenetic research holds great promise for the development of novel biomarkers in diagnostics and for therapeutics. Scientific progress has been hindered by a lack of standardized methods and incompatibilities between technologies employed. QIAGEN is now removing these barriers with the expansion of its EpiTect product line, providing its customers in molecular diagnostics, pharma and life sciences with complete pre-analytical and analytical workflow solutions which guarantee reproducible results even from scarce tissue samples and highest quality of downstream applications.

Epigenetic research has recently gained significant momentum leading to many stunning discoveries. Discoveries show that various cell types have unique patterns of DNA methylation, thus providing an explanation for the transformation of stem cells to various tissue types in the human body. In addition, research demonstrates that methylation patterns can change over time as a reaction to environmental conditions and are also hereditary. That way, the behaviour of an individual – e.g. his nutrition uptake – can have an influence on future generations.

The overall market for epigenetic applications is currently estimated to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 60 percent and to exceed US$ 4 Billion by 2012. Thereby, research primarily aims to deepen our understanding of the highly sophisticated epigenetic regulation mechanism and to develop new therapeutics targeting and diagnostics incorporating DNA methylation patterns as highly sensitive and specific biomarkers.