Swedish Cancer Society allocates SEK 7 million to Sara Mangsbo, Ola Spjuth and Ola Söderberg

2022-11-16

Immunotherapy against tumors, Studies of how DNA damage generates cancer cells and Cell profiling in a robotic laboratory are in focus as the Swedish Cancer Society allocates SEK 7.2 million to three promising research projects at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Sara Mangsbo, Ola Spjuth and Ola Söderberg, Faculty of Pharmacy
Sara Mangsbo, Ola Spjuth and Ola Söderberg, the Faculty of Pharmacy

Sara Mangsbo, Senior Lecturer and research director in immuno-oncology, receives SEK 2.4 million to map the mechanisms of a multifunctional antibody's capacity to strengthen specific immune responses against tumors and to minimize the risk of side effects. The study will be conducted utilizing Antibody Drug Affinity Conjugate (ADAC), the method that Sara Mangsbo developed in close collaboration with SciLifeLab's Drug Discovery and Development Platform.

Sara Mangsbo, research leader in immuno-oncology
Sara Mangsbo, research director in immuno-oncology

“ADAC is based on creating synthetic fragments of proteins, similar to those found in the tumor and injecting them into the patient. This exposes the tumor to our immune system, which consequently begins to produce completely new, tumor-specific T cells, which in turn lead the already existing T cells to identify and destroy the tumor. We are currently working intensively in collaboration with our company Strike Pharma AB to bring the ADAC technology to the clinic. With this grant from the Swedish Cancer Society we are also able to, in an academic surrounding, increase our knowledge of the technology and enable further applicability as well as new research findings,” states Sara Mangsbo.

Immunotherapy is experiencing tremendous success, yet still facing the challenge to increase the number of tumor-specific T cells and to make them seek out and destroy cancer cells. Therefore, the launch of ADAC has enabled new possibilities to revolutionize cancer care in both cost-effective and time-efficient ways.

“Receiving the Swedish Cancer Society's grant both inspires and comes with a great deal of responsibility as it origins from private donors. This enables us to in-depth and with advanced molecular methods characterise the antibody's effect on the tumor, and, hopefully, to contribute to patient-specific therapies in future cancer care,” says Sara Mangsbo.

Ola Söderberg and PhD Student Leonie Wenson
Ola Söderberg and PhD Student Leonie Wenson

Ola Söderberg, Professor of Pharmaceutical cell biology, is granted SEK 2.4 million for the project Using an engineered DNA polymerase to uncover the mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression.

“With the Swedish Cancer Society's grant, we will develop methods to study the processes that lead to the emergence and progress of cancer. We will do this with our unique DNA-copying enzyme, "Sloppymerase", which is extremely error-prone, can break down DNA and implement incorrect bases that will generate mutations,” says Ola Söderberg.

Damage to the DNA might occur as the result of radiation or toxic chemicals. If the damage is repaired incorrectly, the DNA can mutate and in turn cause cancer. Ola Söderberg's research team now aim to develop a method to determine where exactly in a cell that DNA damage occurs, and also a model system where the mutation rate can be accelerated in selected cells, enabling laboratory studies of how a normal cell develops into a cancer cell.

“Our ambition is for this system to provide a clear picture of what happens when cancer cells occur, why some become more malignant and in some cases are not killed despite treatment. If our research adds new knowledge about these processes, we will hopefully also contribute to new and more effective cancer treatments.”

Professor Ola Spjuth
Professor Ola Spjuth

The Swedish Cancer Society also allocates SEK 2.4 million to Ola Spjuth, Professor of Pharmaceutical bioinformatics, and his project Identification of combinatorial drug treatments against soft-tissue sarcoma by Cell painting.

“We will conduct the cell profiling in our own robotised laboratory, a resource that enables automated processes and efficient analyses of the comprehensive and complex data that studies of this kind generate,“ says Ola Spjuth.

FACTS

  • In the Autumn 2022 call, the Swedish Cancer Society allocates SEK 900 million to Swedish cancer research.
  • The grants for research at the Faculty of Pharmacy will be distrubuted 2023-2025.

MORE INFORMATION

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CONTACT

Sara Mangsbo, UniversitetslektorSara Mangsbo, Senior Lecturer
Department of Pharmacy
Sara.Mangsbo@farmaci.uu.se

Ola SpjuthOla Spjuth, Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
ola.spjuth@farmbio.uu.se

Ola Söderberg, professorOla Söderberg, Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Ola.Soderberg@farmbio.uu.se

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

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Last modified: 2024-04-04