Published: 29-04-2013 00:00 | Updated: 16-06-2014 14:43

The Rausings donate SEK 20 million to breast cancer research at Karolinska Institutet

Märit and Hans Rausing are donating an additional SEK 20 million to breast cancer research at Karolinska Institutet. The donation is earmarked for the Karma project, which received SEK 50 million from the couple three years ago, and which has made considerable scientific strides.

Since 2009, a major international project has been underway in which scientists have been studying the genes and genetic mutations that influence the risk of breast cancer. The results from these joint studies have recently been published in a special issue of Nature Genetics, and a few days ago early results from the Karmas study were published showing very positive effects of relapse-preventive breast cancer therapy. The work done so far has prepared the ground for further important research - hence the additional support from the Rausings.

To date, over 70,000 women have signed up for Karma, which is one of the largest breast cancer projects in the world. By finding the women who run a higher risk of breast cancer and offering them means of prevention, the scientists aim to greatly decrease the number of women who succumb to the disease.

"Märit and Hans Rausing's breast cancer initiative means a great deal to our research and our chances of reducing breast cancer incidence and mortality," says Karma study leader Professor Per Hall. "The results of the studies that we've just released are very important steps along the way."

Breast cancer is currently one of the most common forms of cancer amongst women in the West, where some 4 million individuals live with the diagnosis. Eight thousand new cases are discovered annually in Sweden alone, which means that one woman in every nine will be struck by the disease, which claims 1,400 lives every year.

Hans Rausing's mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer, and his father, Ruben Rausing, devoted himself to developing a cure. Ruben Rausing was also one of the early backers of the idea of the foundation that would eventually become the Swedish Cancer Society. Märit and Hans Rausing's new eight-figure donation is linked to the research successes now presented.

"We think it's particularly important to support research that can bring such great relief to so many people in such a short space of time," says Märit Rausing. "Breast cancer affects not only the women who are diagnosed with the disease but everyone around them too. And society at large has much to gain from this as well."

"The Rausing's generosity means that we can build unique scientific competence in the breast cancer field," says Karolinska Institutet president Professor Anders Hamsten. "Their support will open avenues for diagnostic and treatment breakthroughs for millions of women around the world."

About the donations

Märit Rausing has been deeply committed to and involved in developing the Rausing family's philanthropic work, which has given generous support over the years to organisations and scientific research around the world striving to improve human life and health. Their interest in science has benefited Karolinska Institutet in the form of the Märit and Hans Rausing Initiative Against Breast Cancer, and in 2011 Märit Rausing was appointed honorary doctor of medicine at the university. For 37 years, Hans Rausing was president and/or chair of the family-owned company Tetra Pak, now Tetra Laval.

For more on the studies, go to:

Professor/senior physician

Per Hall

Organizational unit: C8.MEB.Hall