Published: 20-10-2020 09:03 | Updated: 20-10-2020 19:09

SEK 10 million awarded to research on myelodysplastic syndrome

Montage of two portrait images of Drs Hellström Lindberg and Tobiasson.
Eva Hellström Lindberg and Magnus Tobiasson, Department of Medicine, Huddinge. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman/Andreas Andersson (montage)

The Tobias Foundation grant in 2020 has been awarded to Magnus Tobiasson and Eva Hellström Lindberg, both researchers at Karolinska Institutet. The grant amounts to SEK 10 million over a five-year period. It will support research on early detection of relapse after stem cell transplantation for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome.

The researchers have developed genetic methods that, in a major Nordic study, have been shown to detect relapse of this form of blood cancer at an early stage. What makes the study unique, is that individual relapse markers are developed for each individual patient and that the method is so simple that it can be used in routine clinical practice.

The grant from the Tobias Foundation now enables the researchers to start a second study, where the markers will be used to guide treatment after stem cell transplantation. The investigators hope that early treatment for patients with a positive marker can push back the disease, prevent relapse, and in the long run lead to more patients being fully cured.

Additional aims of the awarded project are that the use of these markers will lead to fewer complications after transplantation, and that it will be possible to predict if patients are cured from the disease at an earlier stage.

All transplant centres in the Nordic countries

“The generous grant from the Tobias Foundation enables us to quickly develop methods for treating patients as effectively as possible, with the aim of curing more of the patients as well as reducing serious adverse effects of the treatment”, says Magnus Tobiasson, MD, PhD, and project leader at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge.

The study will be carried out in collaboration with all transplant centres in the Nordic countries. The genetic analyses are performed in collaboration with the Uppsala University Hospital.

The Tobias Foundation (Tobias Stiftelsen in Swedish) is named after Tobias Storch, who died in 1991 while waiting to find a donor for stem cell transplantation. The foundation has started the Swedish stem cell register – The Tobias Register – and supports research on stem cell transplantation and the diseases that can be cured with this treatment. The Tobias Foundation has so far donated SEK 115 million to research in Sweden.