HELENA PERSSON is a research group leader at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Devision of Oncology and Pathology and part of the Lund University Cancer Center (LUCC).
WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR RESEARCH?
I started my own research group at LUCC this year with a project focused on so-called ‘silent’ or synonymous mutations in tumours from more than 9000 women with breast cancer. I am interested in the clinical impact and biological functions of this mutation type, that is often ignored in sequencing projects.
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU HOPE THAT YOUR RESEARCH WILL HAVE ON CANCER CARE/CANCER PATIENTS?
High-throughput sequencing has had a dramatic impact on cancer research by accelerating the discovery of tumour suppressors and oncogenes. Detection of patient-specific mutations that can guide treatment selection are already becoming a part of standard clinical care. Demonstrating that synonymous mutations can be functional would help to identify more patients that can benefit from existing targeted therapies, find new targets for drug development, and increase our knowledge about tumour biology.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES FOR COMMERCIALIZING YOUR RESEARCH (FOR THE BENEFIT OF PATIENTS)?
Functional synonymous variants linked to clinical effects should become part of clinical mutation screening and candidate drug targets could be explored in collaboration with pharma industry. Importantly, the implications of our research will not be limited to breast cancer and could impact all cancer types and other diseases.
WHERE CAN I READ MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR RESEARCH?