University of Turku and Boehringer Ingelheim to Collaborate on Lung Cancer Research

​The aim of the collaborative project is to find genetic factors that predict anthropomorphic phantom in lung cancer by using the new screening method which is based on cell-lines and has been developed at the Medical Biochemistry and Genetics unit of the University of Turku. The project also utilises the lung cancer sample collection of the local Auria Biobank, and the gene mutations that have been found with the help of the collection can be combined with the information about the progress of the disease.

– Modern targeted cancer therapies have significantly improved the treatment, but there is still a great need for new and more effective therapies. Especially, when it comes to cancer that has spread, we can generally just slow down the progress of the disease, says Professor Klaus Elenius, the head of the research team that developed the screening method.

According to Elenius, a lot has been learned about the genetic mutations behind cancer during the recent years, but most of the increased gene knowledge is still unused.

– The genomic era has shown that dozens or hundreds of different mutations occur in individual cancer tumours. In principle, all these mutations are potential targets for new therapies, but thus far the available targeted therapies only recognise a few of these. A central factor hindering development is that only in a fraction of the cases, we can draw conclusions about the functional effect of an individual mutation on tumour growth.

The method developed by the team lead by Elenius enables the examination of large amounts of mutations so that simultaneously, information is received of the mutations' effects on cell growth and cell sensitivity to therapies.

– The collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim enables a more extensive implementation and application of the method in order to find new targets for drug therapies. We are very excited about this possibility, says Elenius.

Also Boehringer Ingelheim is looking forward to the collaboration.

– It is great that there are interesting investment targets for foreign companies in Finland. This new collaboration is a great example of how the Finnish high-quality basic research and international pharmaceutical industry can share the same interests, notes Medical Manager Samuli Hirsjärvi.

According to Heli Salminen-Mankonen, the Director of Auria Biobank, this research collaboration is a great example of how the biobank with its interest groups offers new modes of thinking and operation on the collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to produce new services.

– As a result, we create new genomic data services, new forms of treatment and more personal medical applications, as well as business models of public healthcare to match the future operational environments, says Salminen-Mankonen.

TS / SY

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Published date 11/23/2016 3:15 PM ,  Modified date 11/23/2016 3:25 PM

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