Published: 24-08-2015 11:29 | Updated: 24-08-2015 12:16

Kalle Malmberg – newly appointed Visiting Professor at CIM

Kalle Malmberg – newly appointed Visiting Professor at CIM

How does it feel to have been appointed Visiting Professor at CIM? Kalle Malmberg

- It's very fun! I "grew up" at CIM and Huddinge and I have previously worked at CIM as a researcher and group leader. I moved with my family to Oslo three years ago to work at the Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital. The idea is that I will contribute to the development of Nordic cooperation in cellular and immune therapy.

- It's also good that it is spent on this type of research and to be with and follow the clinical breakthrough in immunotherapy.

What is your group's research focus?

- We are studying NK cells (natural killer cells) that are part of the immune system and have a unique ability to kill cancer cells. We look at how the NK cells function is regulated and how they can be used in cell therapy against cancer. Mainly we focus on patients with cancers acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

What are you doing right now?

- Right now we write a summary of the results of a first clinical trial with NK cell therapy as we have done in the project. There are 16 patients who underwent cell transplantation and we are working intensively with both biological and clinical data analysis.

Can you see any effects?

- Yes, we can see that some patients respond to treatment. Of the 16 patients who participated in the study, 6 achieved complete remission (temporary improvement) of which 5 have been able to undergo a stem cell transplant as a direct result of participation in the study. However, it is important to point out that this is a combination treatment of chemotherapy and that we do not with certainty say that the clinical effects depends on NK cells. A small indication that NK cells may contribute is the relationship between the presence of donor NK cells 1-2 weeks after treatment, and the clinical effect.

What is the next step?

- We will try to manipulate NK cells further so they become even more effective in killing cancer cells, by selectively expanding particularly potent NK cells and growing them longer than we did before. Now we have had two-day protocol, where the cells cultivated in one day. In the next step we will to grow them for five days under special conditions and see what it gets for effects. The idea is to implement a Nordic trial with patients in more countries and possibly at several hospitals.

Should you have a holiday?

- Yes, in the Swedish mountains and the Stockholm archipelago. I´m happy as long as I´m able to run or ride roller skis!