In the frontline of cancer research

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[PRESS INVITATION] World-leading cancer researchers are heading to Sweden and Karolinska Institutet to present their latest research findings at a major cancer conference. This year, the focus will be on lung cancer, but there will also be presentations on a wide range of topics, including genetics, novel therapies, energy metabolism in tumours and immune system-cancer cell interaction.

Reporters are welcome to attend the conference and interview the speakers.

Conference: Frontiers in Cancer Research and Therapy
When: 23–24 February, 2017
Where: Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, Karolinska Institutet, Solna

“Current research centres on two principle strategies for cancer treatment: activation of the immune system to fight cancer and attacking tumour cell’s signal pathways using targeted therapy approaches. Research on both these frontlines will be represented at the conference,” says Dr Kristina Viktorsson, researcher at the Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet and one of the arrangers of the conference.

Professor Joan Massagué of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA, is interested in the mechanisms behind the formation of cancer metastases in lung and breast cancer. His research shows that tumour-forming cells can lie dormant and evade the immune system by inhibiting certain signal pathways. These cells then help to stimulate the growth of daughter tumours. His goal is to use this knowledge to create new drugs. He will be presenting his research at the conference.

A kinase enzyme, PI3K, has become a therapeutic target for cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases. The enzyme was discovered by Professor Lewis Cantley at Weill Cornell Medical College, USA, who will be talking about P13K and the important function it has for epithelial cells, which are cells that form barriers around the body’s organs. The knowledge will prove of use to new cancer therapies.

Professor Johanna Olweus at the University of Oslo, Norway, will be speaking about how cancer can be tackled using the donation of immune system T cells from one person to another.

Part of the conference will be especially devoted to lung cancer. Fifteen per cent of all lung cancer cases are small cell lung tumours, and patients with such tumours have a high mortality rate despite intensive chemotherapy. There is, unfortunately, no targeted treatment available at present for small cell lung cancer, but this is something that could change with the help of the research being conducted by Professor Julian Sage of Stanford University, USA. He has identified different signal pathways that enable SCLC cells to survive and spread.

Professor Rafael Rosell of Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, has focused on the dominant form of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and with the aid of genetic mapping he has identified signal pathways that this type of tumour uses and needs in order to grow. One of these goes via the growth factor receptor EGFR, and there are currently several drugs available that inhibit this signal pathway. But not all tumours are receptive to the drug. Rafael Rosell has led the development of biomarkers that can be used to determine whether or not a tumour in a patient will be receptive to this type of treatment.

View the programme in full here. 

The conference has been made possible through grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Research Funds of Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Cancer Centre Foundation and pharmaceutical companies working in oncology in Sweden.

For more information contact: 
Researcher Kristina Viktorsson
Tel: +46 70 338 35 13

Karolinska Institutet Press Office
+46 8 524 860 77

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country´s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.