Research with the individual patient in mind

Research at FIMM focuses on finding personalized treatments for patients with leukaemia.

Dr. Caroline Heckman

Within the five-year research programme Finnish Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank (FHRB), a research team, headed by Professor Kimmo Porkka, will focus on finding new treatments for patients suffering from leukaemia. Dr. Caroline Heckman, one of the leading researchers in the project at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Biomedicum, University of Helsinki, has high hopes for the results.

– Specimens taken from leukaemia patients in Finland will be used in the project with the aim of creating more personalized and efficient treatments.

According to Dr. Heckman, including specimens from Finnish patients is a great asset to the study. The researchers can subject the affected cells to apply various medicinal treatments and receive results within a short timeframe thanks to new drug screening technology. Molecular profiling and genetic analyses are also carried out on the collected cells and the results are then stored in an informatic biobank, a database helping the compilation of new knowledge.

– The current treatments of leukaemia may cause side effects and the risk for recurrence constitutes a problem. We hope to find new therapeutic strategies that will eliminate this, Dr. Heckman explains.

The researchers feel very enthusiastic about the project which has a promising future.

– Another benefit is that the research is carried out within a small-scale network where everybody is working towards the same goal, says Dr. Heckman.

– In a few years, we hope we will see results leading to new methods for diagnostics and treatment of the hematologic disease, and using this knowledge will enable more individually adjusted treatments which improve the prognosis for the patient.

In addition to FIMM, the project also involves five university central hospitals, a number of central hospitals and the Finnish Red Cross, which together with the Finnish Association of Hematology (FAH) and other contributors also finance the project.

Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) » »

The FHRB project » »

Text & photo: Nathalie Edman
2.2.2011
Translation: AAC Global
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