Background & Aim

Personalised medicine (PM) is a cornerstone-field of healthcare, whose aim is to tailor the clinical diagnosis and treatment to the individual biochemistry of the patients and their particular molecular dysfunction.

This marks an essential shift from the paradigm of general treatment focussed on symptoms and should lead to:

significant improvements in clinical outcomes for patients
▶ increase in medical efficiency
▶ reduction of the financial burden of chronic health conditions on society

The importance of glycomics to healthcare
is summarised in a recent report endorsed by the US Academies which stated that “glycans are directly involved in the pathophysiology of every major disease” and that “additional knowledge from glycoscience will be needed to realize the goals of precision medicine and to take advantage of the substantial investments in human genome and proteome research and its impact on human health”.

GlySign focusses on glycomics for PM in clinical management of patients with long‐term chronic diseases, glycomics being defined here as determination of the structures and quantities of the glycan species in a particular biological system or glycoprotein, and so includes glycoproteomics. The name GlySign refers to the distinctive and complex changes in the glycomics profiles or Glycan Signatures of the body’s glycoproteins that occur during progression of many chronic diseases including cancers and inflammatory conditions


GlySign aims at the the advancement of medical glycomics, currently hampered by three main factors:

Glycoproteins display glycan microheterogeneity, the analysis of which has been successfully tackled in a research setting, but remains a challenge in typical clinical chemistry labs. GlySign aims at the development of facile and robust procedures for high‐resolution glycomics analysis in a clinical lab setting.

Biomarker translation is too rarely attempted: biomarkers discovered in fundamental research are rarely translated into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes due to a lack of quality in biomarker validation, among other reasons. This project aims to bring clinically validated glycomics biomarkers into the clinic, thereby demonstrating the additional value of glycomics for PM.

Glycomics is a technically difficult, highly specialised field and practitioners must be skilled to a high level in a wide range of analytical technologies. Also, large, complex multi‐dimensional datasets impede interpretation. GlySign aims to train skilled glycomics specialists.

To learn more about our project, take a look at our Research and Training  Programmes.