Published: 23-12-2015 12:03 | Updated: 23-12-2015 12:08

KI involved in EU ovarian cancer project

More effective treatment of the most common form of ovarian cancer: this is the aim of the EU-funded HERCULES project, which will be studying ovarian tumours at an unprecedented level of detail.

The mortality rate of ovarian cancer is high; more than 40,000 women die of the disease in Europe every year.

Jussi Taipale“The survival odds for women with high-grade serious ovarian cancer, the most common type of ovarian cancer, has not markedly improved over the past twenty years,” says Jussi Taipale, professor of medical system biology and head of the Swedish part of the HERCULES project. “It’s imperative that we have new innovative solutions if we’re going to understand and treat this form of cancer.”

The HERCULES project recently received EUR 6 million from the EU’s “Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme", and scientists in Finland, Italy, France and Sweden are now readying themselves for the start of the project on 1 January 2016. The HERCULES project will spend five years focusing on the most common and hardest to treat form of ovarian cancer, high-grade serious ovarian cancer, in order to identify the constituent cell types, how these cells respond to therapy, and what makes them resistant to treatment.

Jussi Taipale and his research group at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition will be involved in the characterisation of the different tumor cell types, which will entail charting their genetic information and ascertaining which genes are active. Each gene has a regulatory region containing the instructions that control where and when it is to be used, and by studying these regions, the researchers hope to discover the mechanisms responsible for drug resistance.

Press release about the HERCULES project

Text: Jenny Ryltenius