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NMDS Group

The project 'Characterization, Surveillance and Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells' has been granted funding for a period of five years in the amount of SEK 45,250,000 by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Congratulations to Professor Sten Eirik Jacobsen, Professor Eva Hellström Lindberg, Professor Seishi Ogawa, Senior researcher Yenan Bryceson and Assistant Professor Petter Woll!


Text below can be found at http://ki.se/en/news/four-projects-to-share-143-million-from-knut-and-alice-wallenberg-foundation.

Cancer relapse after an initially successful treatment is still a major problem and the toughest challenge for modern cancer therapies. Such late relapses are thought to be caused by the existence of rare cancer stem cells, which, in being demonstrably resistant to treatment and capable of forming new tumours, play an important part in the onset and development of the disease. It is therefore imperative that they are the target of all future cancer therapies.

Sten Eirik Jacobsen, Photo: Ulf Sirborn.

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a form of blood cancer deriving from the stem cells in the bone marrow, and leads to a lack of mature blood cells in the circulatory system. For many patients, the disease intensifies over time and can turn into acute leukaemia with a worse prognosis. The researchers behind this project have recently identified the cancer stem cells in MDS as well as several significant genetic mutations in.

The grant from KAW will allow Professor Sten Eirik W. Jacobsen, who received the 2014 Tobias Prize along with a grant from the Tobias Foundation for his work on MDS, and four other leading research groups at Karolinska Institutet’s new Centre for Haematology and Regenerative Medicine (HERM), to address several important biological and clinical aspects of MDS. These include the biology behind MDS induced anaemia, the MDS transformation tendency into acute leukemia, the development of immunotherapy, and the significance of recently discovered mutations in MDS.

“Our joint objective is to get a better understanding of the disease MDS both in terms of disease mechanisms, stem cell biology, immunology, and the molecular mechanisms behind MDS. We will conduct studies in animal models as well as in patients.  By combining our respective expertise in the five research groups, we hope to develop therapies that more specifically and effectively can eliminate the MDS stem cells, but also through other approaches give rise to more lasting therapeutic results and remedies for MDS,” says Professor Jacobsen.

Even though the cancer stem cells in other blood cancers and tumours will probably differ significantly from the MDS stem cells, the researchers hope to glean from these studies a better understanding of cancer stem cells and of the development of cancer stem-cell therapies for cancer more generally.”