Cancer Research KI Newsletter
Research News

November 2020


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A Message from Cancer Research KI 


Dear Cancer Research KI community,


2020 is coming to a close and has obviously been a year overshadowed by the pandemic and its consequences on both personal and professional levels. Despite these troubled times, Cancer Research KI has been able to carry out many of its missions, including our innovative grant calls (i.e., Blue Sky and Translational Seed Funding Grant Calls), where we have been humbled by the number of strong applications. 2020 was also a special year, as KI and NKS were approved as the first Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sweden. We have also witnessed growth in our community through the creation of our newsletter and we have initiated the discussions on crafting a long-term strategy for cancer research at KI.


These endeavours will continue in 2021, when we also aim to introduce our Cancer Day event on the 29 April, showcasing the great pre-clinical and clinical research conducted by our cancer researchers to the Swedish public. In 2021, we will hopefully also be able to resume our traditional retreat at Djurönäset. All these endeavours will not be impactful without your contributions and involvement; as such we would like to thank Cancer Research KI’s Reference Group for their hard work this year. We would also like to thank every single one of our community members for your work and input during 2020 and invite you to an eventful 2021 with Cancer Research KI.


Best wishes, stay safe


Jonas Bergh, Director

Kamila Czene, Co-Director

Urban Lendahl, Co-Director

Cancer Researcher Portrait

by Cancer Research KI


"Why are people dying of cancer when we know so much of this disease"


Our last virtual interview of 2020 is with Janne Lehtiö. We discuss the importance of being a curiosity driven scientist, a team-oriented PI where the emphasis is placed on the people of the team itself and not simply your own win.

Janne Lehtiö

Professor in Clinical Proteomics

Dept. of Oncology-Pathaology

Scientific Director at SciLifeLab

“Janne Lehtiö comes from a chemistry and engineering background and has always been interested in nature and biology. When he moved into his PhD he started studying one protein domain (carbohydrate binding domain), and did everything on that protein from site directed mutagenesis, to producing it, to analysing it in different ways. He describes thinking that he was “the world leading expert of that single protein domain” and was missing the bigger picture. Soon after the completion of his PhD he went into an American biotech company with the thinking that the grass (might) look greener on the other side..."

Read the full interview with Janne Lehtiö on our home page.

Read more about Lehtiö's research here.

In KI-news


KI receives SEK 290 million from Cancer Society

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have been awarded a grant of SEK 290 million from the Swedish Cancer Society, meaning that over one third of the total grant of SEK 709 million, divided amongst eleven universities, is going to cancer research at KI.


Read more here.

New analysis method can lead to better cancer drugs

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a new DNA-based analytical method that could contribute to the development of future drugs for breast and other cancers.

Read more here.

Anti-depressant repurposed to treat childhood cancer

A new study has found that a commonly prescribed anti-depressant may halt growth of a type of cancer known as childhood sarcoma, at least in mice and laboratory cell experiments. Collaboration between researchers at Karolinska Institutet and MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Texas).


Read more here.

Grant Recipients


Task Forces for Different Diagnoses (TDD)

The grants serve as seed funding with aim to encourage KI and University Hospital-based researchers to join forces around one major group of cancers. Each of the task forces was formed to promote interdisciplinary, interdepartmental and translational cooperation.

After evaluation, 6 applications for TFDD were granted funding with a total grant SUM 690.000 SEK by Cancer Research KI. The evaluation was based on four criteria: scientific impact and quality, action program, added value of network & Organisation, report on activities (when applicable). Further information can be found here.

Congratulations to the network leaders (from left to right): Nick Tobin (OnkPat),Svetlana Bajalica Lagercrantz (OnkPat), Andreas Lundqvist (OnkPat), Georgios Rassidakis (OnkPat), Matthias Löhr (CLINTEC) and Alexander Valdman (OnkPat).

Combined Research and Clinical Oncology/ Haematology Positions

Two Senior Lecturer positions in clinical oncology or hematology, combined with a clinical position at Karolinska University Hospital (focus on research) have been appointed to two renowned scientists and clinicians.

Congratulations to Theodoros Foukakis (OnkPat, top) and Hareth Nahi (MedH, bottom).

They are expected to be involved in pre-clinical, translational and clinical studies within oncology or hematology. The studies may include improved prediction of treatment outcome, identification of new treatment strategies, increased understanding of resistance mechanisms, as well as how these mechanisms can change during disease progression and development of tumor heterogeneity.

Read more here.

Workshops and Seminars


Cancer Workshop for Patient Organisations (25 Nov 2020)

This 1-day VIRTUAL workshop is a joint endeavour between Cancer Research KI and RCC Stockholm-Gotland that will aim to address opportunities for interaction and communication between cancer patient organisations and researchers. All presentations and discussions will be held in SWEDISH.

Schedule and registration here.

Recent Research Publications

Erik Norberg (Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology) Article

The deubiquitinase JOSD2 is a positive regulator of glucose metabolism. Cell Death Differ (2020)

Ana I Teixeira (Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics) Article

A DNA-nanoassembly-based approach to map membrane protein nanoenvironments. Nat Nanotechnol (2020)

Jiayao Lei and Pär Sparén (Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Article

HPV Vaccination and the Risk of Invasive Cervical Cancer. N Engl J Med (2020)

Veronica Jackson and Ulrik Sartipy (Dept. of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Dept. of Cardiothoracic Surgery) Article

Household disposable income and long-term survival after pulmonary resections for lung cancer. Thorax (2020)

Anita Göndör and Rolf Ohlsson (Dept. of Oncology-Pathology) Article

MYC as a driver of stochastic chromatin networks: implications for the fitness of cancer cells. Nucleic Acids Res (2020)

Leonard Girnita (Dept. of Oncology-Pathology) Article

Inhibition of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 promotes unbiased downregulation of IGF-1 receptor and restrains malignant cell growth. Cancer Res (2020)

Martin Enge (Dept. of Oncology-Pathology) Article

A Highly Scalable Method for Joint Whole-Genome Sequencing and Gene-Expression Profiling of Single Cells. Mol Cell (2020)

Randall S Johnson (Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology) Article

Cytotoxic T-cells mediate an exercise-induced reduction in tumor growth. eLife (2020)

Frida E Lundberg (Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Article

Trends in cancer survival in the Nordic countries 1990-2016: the NORDCAN survival studies. Acta Oncol (2020)

Qing Shen (Inst. of Environmental Medicine) Article

Risk of Injuries around Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer and Its Precursor Lesions: A Nationwide Cohort Study in Sweden. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2020)

Open Positions


Please send us your open positions for Master projects, PhD candidates and postdocs so that we can advertise them to our Cancer Research KI community.

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Cancer Research KI is an overarching umbrella organisation and single point of entry to cancer research at Karolinska Institutet, conducted by some 250 research groups at multiple campuses and departments. The aim is to combine cancer research with clinical oncology by bringing together top level cancer scientists from different disciplines, with the overall goal to generate new scientific discoveries that can be rapidly translated into clinical practice for the benefit of patients and society.

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