Funding basic science to advance cancer research: Cancerfonden distributes 28 million SEK to Lund Stem Cell Center researchers
Earlier this fall, the Swedish Cancer Foundation (Cancerfonden) distributed 133 million SEK to 41 cancer researchers at Lund University. Nearly a quarter of this - 28 million SEK - has been awarded to 11 researchers from Lund Stem Cell Center, funding translational research which seeks to advance cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Isabella Artner, Associate Professor, is among the 11 researchers from Lund Stem Cell Center at Lund University to receive funding from Cancerfonden in their latest grant distribution. Her research focuses on endocrine cell development and function in the embryonic and adult pancreas.
A small gland in the abdomen, the pancreas lies behind the lower part of the stomach. It releases enzymes that aid in digestion and produces hormones, including insulin, that help manage blood sugar levels in the body. Diabetes, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer are three conditions that affect the pancreas, with the latter considered one of the most lethal types of cancer. This is because symptoms are not typically noticeable until the cancer has already progressed into late stages, making it more difficult to treat.
Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the pancreas begin to divide and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. When left untreated, these cancer cells can spread to surrounding blood vessels, organs, and other parts of the body.
With support from Cancerfonden, Isabella Artner and her team of researchers within the Endocrine Cell Differentiation Research Group will work to identify common mechanisms controlling human pancreas and pancreatic cancer development. To do this, they will study developing and adult pancreatic tissue and compare it with tissue from a pancreas with cancer.
“Previous research indicates that certain genes are important during fetal development and are also very active during the development of pancreatic cancer. By studying tissue from embryos, we hope to find the mechanisms that drive cancer development in the pancreas,” explains Isabella Artner, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator at Lund Stem Cell Center and the Lund University Diabetes Center.
Despite numerous advances over the past several years, the only effective treatment for pancreatic cancer is surgery, as chemotherapy and immunotherapy tend to have little effect. By identifying the genes and mechanisms that control cancer development in the pancreas, Isabella and her team hope to accelerate the development of new drugs and treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Funding Basic Science to Advance Cancer Research
An additional ten research initiatives led by researchers at Lund Stem Cell Center will also move forward thanks to funding from Cancerfonden. These initiatives aim to broaden our understanding of the mechanisms and causes of various forms of cancer at biological and molecular levels. While the knowledge gained may not be immediately translatable to new treatments and cures, the resulting discoveries will provide needed information to make advancements in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer a reality.
Research Project Grant Recipients:
- Isabella Artner, Associate Professor | Identifying common mechanisms controlling human pancreas development and pancreatic cancer- HOXB genes in pancreatic cancer (2.4 million SEK)
- Christian Bellodi, Senior Lecturer | Unraveling the "oncogenic" RNA epitranscriptome driving translation reprogramming in cancer (4.5 million SEK)
- Johan Flygare, Associate Professor | Single-cell molecular studies of new therapies for Diamond-Blackfan Anemia reveal therapeutic mechanisms and pathogenic processes behind bone marrow failure and malignancy. (1.2 million SEK)
- Sandeep Gopal, Researcher | A Calcium Switch Controls Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition During Breast Cancer Progression (2.4 million SEK)
- Jenny Hansson, Associate Professor | Identification and perturbation of connected intra- and extracellular protein networks of acute leukemia in children and adults: an opportunity for novel therapeutic approaches (2.4 million SEK)
- Johan Jakobsson, Professor | Epigenetics and Glioblastoma: A role for Line-1 Transposable Elements (3.0 million SEK)
- Göran Karlsson, Associate Professor | Single-cell analysis of leukemic stem cells to predict therapy insensitivity and relapse (2.4 million SEK)
- Kenichi Miharada, Assistant Professor | Unraveling roles for a conformational change of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins in normal and malignant hematopoiesis (3.75 million SEK)
- Abhishek Niroula, Postdoctoral Researcher, Nilsson Group | Understanding the origin and evolution of clonal hematopoiesis and hematologic malignancies (2.4 million SEK)
- Valgardur Sigurdsson, Assistant Researcher, Miharada Group | Activation of blood stem cells to subvert chemotherapy induced myelosuppression (1.6 million SEK)
- Ewa Sitnicka-Quinn, Professor | Towards understanding of the impact of leukemia on natural killer cell development (2.0 million SEK)
Email:isabella [dot] artner [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se
Cancerfonden's Grant Awards | 2022
The Cancerfonden distributed SEK 900 million to Swedish cancer research and financed over 230 research projects this year. 41 of these research projects are based at Lund University, which received a total of 131 million in grants.
Read more about their research projects in the press release from Cancerfonden
Link to news 900 million for cancer research
Link to the full list of all researchers who receive funding here
Since the 1950s, Cancerfonden has collected and distributed money for the leading cancer research in Sweden. Back then, in the 50s, one in three survived. Today, two out of three survive.
In the selection process, the Cancerfonden allows all research projects to compete with each other, regardless of cancer type and research method. The Norwegian Cancer Fund's research committee then assesses which projects have the greatest chance of achieving successful results.