Three cancer research teams recently got 3.8 million Swedish crowns from the Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation and Societal Development. The research teams hold great promise to characterize cancer cells and diagnose cancer at an earlier stage than what is possible today. This, in turn, creates options for personalized medicine.
Lisa Rydén is one of the cancer researchers that was granted money from the Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation and Societal Development. She recently got 1.8 million Swedish crowns to by a new technology platform, a DEEPArray™ System. The technique will help the researchers understand how cancer evolves from a primary tumour to a disease where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- We do this by molecular characterization of circulating cells and analysis of the tumour´s traits. The donation has given us an opportunity, unique in the world, to separate individual cancer cells with a new technique that also enables genomic traits to be determined for individual cells, says Lund university researcher Lisa Rydén, seated at Medicon Village.
The molecular characterization enables the researchers to identify molecular fingerprints from tumour cells – fingerprints that can be identified in circulating cancer cells in the blood or the tumour tissue itself. Understanding the molecular fingerprints and genomic traits, along with understanding how circulating cancer cells to spread to other organs, could boost breast cancer patients’ prognosis.
The team´s findings could lead to precision medicine that matches an individual cell´s fingerprint with a specific treatment. The method is suitable for analysis in any kind of cancer, which holds great promise for future health care.
Donation strengthens the national collaboration between Lund and Uppsala
The other researchers getting a donation from the foundation are Åke Borg, also he a Lund university researcher seated at Medicon Village, and Tobias Sjöblom at Uppsala University. They get one million Swedish crowns each to develop diagnostic tools for use in the clinic.
- The aim of the project is to make new methods of analysis and new results from cancer research more accessible to health care and to breast cancer patients. The donation gives us the opportunity to transfer these new results and the new methods to a clinical reality, says Åke Borg, who runs the cancer project, SCAN-B, at Lund University.
The diagnostic tool, or the so called advanced molecular diagnostics, is a costly technique that involves sequencing many genes in the patient´s tumour. The tools hold great promise to assess how aggressive the tumour is and to better follow up on the effect of the cancer treatment.
- It is very important that cancer patients quickly get a correct diagnosis for a quick decision of the right treatment. The donation strengthens the molecular diagnostic that is being established in Uppsala and Lund, and means that more patient samples can be sequenced, say Tobias Sjöblom, who runs the cancer project, U-CAN, at Uppsala University.
Cancer projects linking patients, health care and research within the field are being established in both Uppsala (U-CAN) and Lund (SCAN-B).
- It´s not easy to receive grants for this kind of implementation in the clinic. The donation from Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation and Societal Development is therefore very important, Åke Borg points out.
Medicon Village is owned by the Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation and Societal Development. The foundation has on multiple occasions made donations to researchers at Medicon Village, and the largest donations have been to teams bridging disciplines.
- I´m very happy that the foundation can make these kinds of donations, and I think it´s fantastic for Medicon Village that the foundation reinvests in research and innovation. Many of the researchers at Medicon Village lie at the frontiers of ground breaking findings – findings which can be enabled by further funding, says Mats Leifland.
The foundation owns Medicon Village and aims to reinvests its profit in research and innovation. The foundation promotes scientific research, primarily within medicine and other life sciences, to benefit healthcare, development, innovation and societal development in the Swedish county of Skåne.
By Tanja Jensen, science writer (tanja [dot] jensen [at] mediconvillage [dot] se)