Published: 08-10-2014 11:27 | Updated: 08-10-2014 11:27

Karolinska Institutet cancer researchers awarded multi-million grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has decided to award SEK 61 million to two cancer research projects at Karolinska Institutet.

Professor Jonas Bergh at the Department of Oncology-Pathology is receiving approximately SEK 39.6 million for research aimed at finding new strategies for more effective breast cancer treatments. The project will be financed for five years, and is conducted in cooperation with Professor Sir David Lane and Professor Yihai Cao from the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, as well as Professor Pär Nordlund from the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.

In the project, the researchers will work on several important problems found in current breast cancer therapy. The goal is to improve tumour characterization, drug selections and treatment strategies. The hypothesis is that this can be done through more stringent methods for optimising how much of the drug reaches the "drug binding sites" in the cells (known as target engagement), combined with analysis of the cancer cells' genetics. An important part of the project is based on new technology (CETSA) that makes it possible to directly measure medicine reaching the intended target in cells, animals and patient samples. Pär Nordlund and Yihai Cao are among the collaborators who have worked on creating CETSA, and were the first to describe the method in the scientific journal Science in 2013.

"Our assessment is that our innovative strategies for improving breast cancer therapies will be very," says Professor Jonas Bergh. "We believe that the findings should be possible to generically apply to other cancers, aiming at better select and tailor therapies.”

Read more about CETSA

Professor Thomas Helleday at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics and SciLifeLab is receiving approximately SEK 21.3 million for continued work on a project aimed at finding a new type of targets for cancer treatment. In 2012, Helleday received a two-year project grant of SEK 14.2 million from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The new funding is a continuation grant to fund research in the project Novel cancer targets within nucleotide metabolism which Thomas Helleday conducts with colleagues from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.

Read more about the project