LEENA LILJEDAHL is a Post-Doc within CREATE Health at the Department of Immunotechnology, Lund University and a member of the Lund University Cancer Center (LUCC).
WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR RESEARCH?
I work with cancer proteomics on a multivariate protein level. That means that rather than just looking at how one protein changes between healthy and diseased individuals, I study the changes of several proteins at one time. For protein detection, we use antibody affinity-based proteomics and mass spectrometry-based proteomics in both a discovery (more un-biased) and a targeted (pre-determined) way. A key element of my research is the use of non-invasive biofluids such as plasma and serum instead of relying on biopsies, which often come with a higher risk for the patient.
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU HOPE THAT YOUR RESEARCH WILL HAVE ON CANCER CARE/CANCER PATIENTS?
The protein changes that we detect can potentially be used as biomarkers for disease diagnostics, determination of the cancer stage, to monitor progression or even the response to a specific treatment. Additionally, we can get information on which pathways are affected within different types of cancer, i.e., which ones are common to several cancers or disease conditions and which are specific. Eventually, we hope to be able to diagnose cancer at an early stage, a factor which is vital for survival in many cancer forms, and/or to be able to monitor the success of a treatment strategy – all by using a simple blood sample. If successful, this would mean that more people could get cured and that the disease process would affect them less.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES FOR COMMERCIALIZING YOUR RESEARCH?
If a specific set of serum or plasma biomarkers can be verified and validated for a specific cancer stage or disease, either an antibody-based or mass spectrometry-based assay can be developed. Such an assay could be run within days after sampling of the patient´s blood. A fast test answer would mean less worries for the patient and hopefully a more accurate answer than that given today.
WHERE CAN I READ MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR RESEARCH?