LiU nabbed two of three BIO-X projects
Solutions for finding liver cancer at an early stage and diagnosis tools for Alzheimer’s disease. Those are the goals of two research projects at Linköping University that have received funding from the BIO-X life sciences programme.
BIO-X supports ideas from the research community that can satisfy needs or solve problems in different areas. In the autumn of 2011, BIO-X called for new solutions in diagnostics. That led to almost 50 project proposals from researchers at universities in east central Sweden. Three projects were granted support, and two of these are being conducted at Linköping University (LiU).
Katarina Kågedal, Reader of Experimental Pathology at LiU, is trying to solve the riddle of Alzheimer’s disease. It is an illness that baffles researchers and leads to enormous costs for health care services. She has succeeded in identifying biomarkers that could be decisive in diagnosing the disease. Kågedal explains:
“It was believed for a long time that Alzheimer’s disease is part of a natural ageing process, but this is not the case."
There is no precise method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s today. At the same time, treatments are being developed which will only have full effect if they are administered at an early stage. Katarina Kågedal has now been granted funding from BIO-X to verify the group of biomarkers she has identified and to develop an initial diagnostic kit.
Liver cancer is a form of cancer with a high mortality rate. However, if the tumour is discovered early there are good chances of recovery. However a good method of diagnosing the disease at an early stage does not exist at present.
“The reason for the high mortality rate of liver cancer is that the diagnosis is often made too late,” says Peter Påhlsson, professor of Medical Biology. If the patient gets an early diagnosis, successful surgery is usually possible.
There is a group of carbohydrate structures of liver protein in the blood that change their appearance in the case of cancer. Påhlsson’s research team has developed proteins that are small enough to be able to bind to these carbohydrates. That provides a basis for developing diagnostics capable of catching early cases of liver cancer.
“We want to focus on certain groups, e.g. people with hepatitis, who have an increased risk of developing liver cancer. It is our hope that the use of this method will help them,” says Peter Påhlsson.
The two projects will receive support on patenting issues and planning, as well as funding of up to SEK 2 million each.
“We are now getting help to take the discoveries we’ve made further, to turn them into actual patient benefit. The support from BIO-X is a great help,” Peter Påhlsson says.
The third researcher to receive funding from BIO-X is Chunde Li, who is at the Karolinska Institute and who has identified a genetic signature in tissue samples that serves as a guide to the correct treatment for prostate cancer.
Text: Susanne B. Karlsson Photo: Göran Billeson
BIO-X is a programme within Uppsala BIO that supports both researchers and industry in the development of new, competitive life science products. In BIO-X, projects are always based on needs in health care or in society. BIO-X offers a structured process and financing. The goal is a proof-of-concept or equivalent.
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Last updated: 2013-06-18