Tobias Sjöblom: “Donations make better targeted cancer treatment possible”

Tobias Sjöblom

Donations have given Professor Tobias Sjöblom and his research team the opportunity to develop better tools for more personalised cancer treatment.

“Our new cancer treatment is guided by the genetic damage in the tumour. That’s why it’s so important to use good diagnostic tools so that the patient receives the right pharmaceutical treatment. At present, software is used that was developed for other purposes and as a result, important mutations are missed,” says Sjöblom, Professor of Tumour Genetics.

After ten years of basic research, a breakthrough in pattern recognition methods, and the mapping of large quantities of genes, the research team has managed to develop software that is more effective than current solutions at finding the mutations that cause cancer in an individual patient.

“When we are able to determine with a high degree of precision exactly which mutations are the cause of cancer in the particular patient, we can target the treatment and reduce both side-effect risks and pharmaceutical costs,” says Sjöblom.

Before it can be used in healthcare, the software must be approved as a medical device by medicines agencies in the EU and US. Sjöblom and his research team are now working on the challenging stage of technical development leading from research to medical device – a phase for which it is difficult to find funding.

“Donations facilitate the transition from research to a product for clinical diagnostics – a transition that is difficult to finance but important,” says Sjöblom. “Generous gifts from the Mats Paulsson Foundations have enabled us to develop the software further, to investigate whether the method offers better performance than other methods through field tests in clinical practice, and to begin the process of developing a medical device.”