Biomarkers are one of the most important tools to increase the effectiveness of various cancer treatments. Now the national innovation programme SWElife has decided on its first grants within cancer research and two of them will go to researchers at Lund University who are developing biomarkers for various forms of cancer.
Being able to arrive at a correct diagnosis as early as possible can be crucial for the fate of a cancer patient. With the help of biomarkers, health care staff can more rapidly arrive at a precise cancer diagnosis and even predict what treatment will be most effective.
Lao Saal has developed methods that use a blood sample to analyse circulating tumour DNA, known as ctDNA, which is present in the blood and correlates to tumour development. The analyses provide researchers with a good picture of how the tumour has mutated, whether it has grown or shrunk, whether the tumour has developed resistance or whether the patient has recovered.
Research studies have shown the methods to be effective in breast cancer. Now the researchers want to take the next step towards commercialisation, through further experiments in laboratories and studies of larger patient groups. The project is a collaboration between researchers at the Division of Oncology and Pathology at Lund University, the Division of Clinical Oncology at Skåne University Hospital and the company Bio-Rad Laboratories.
Christer Wingren is working on developing biomarkers which can provide early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. After five years, only three per cent of patients are still alive, because the disease is usually discovered too late.
Early and improved diagnostics would lead to improved survival rates.
Christer Wingren and his colleagues will now analyse various stages in tumour development to find biomarkers which could pave the way for the first diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.
The project is a collaboration between Carl Borrebaeck at CREATE Health, Lund University, the cancer diagnostics company Immunovia AB and Professor Julia Johansen at Herlev Hospital, Denmark.
Lao Saal has been awarded SEK 2 million and Christer Wingren SEK 1.9 million for their respective projects.
SWElife is a national, strategic innovation programme financed by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas. Its aim is to accelerate the development from research findings to applications in health care. SWElife includes the life science industry, public health care, universities, patients and various parts of the innovation system and funders.