The iCAN flagship partnership in precision cancer medicine launched

iCAN aims for discoveries and improved treatments through research at the interface of precision cancer medicine and digital health. The newly formed partnership, hosted by University of Helsinki and HUS, enables broad genomic and molecular profiling of cancers in Finland for improving treatments.

iCAN is one of the national RDI flagships funded by the Academy of Finland and aiming for scientific excellence and societal impact. In iCAN this takes place through new types of collaborations with patients and companies.

Collaboration creates broader research opportunities

The new iCAN flagship partnership, involving the hosts University of Helsinki and HUS Helsinki University Hospital as well as company partners, enables a uniquely large and broad pan-cancer study, the iCAN Flagship Project.

“Public-private partnerships such as iCAN are crucial for broadening research efforts and advancing our understanding of cancer and developing new knowledge into patient benefits,” notes HUS Research Director Anne Pitkäranta. “The project also supports our biobank efforts and leverages the HUS data lake ensuring a safe analytical environment for data analysis”.

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH was the first company to join the partnership. “The accomplishments in Helsinki in hematological malignancies have been impressive. We are very excited to join the iCAN effort aiming to expand this success also into solid tumors”,” says Professor Matthias Ocker, acting as the Principal Investigator from Boehringer Ingelheim in the iCAN Flagship Project.

Initiating broad genomic and molecular profiling of cancers in Finland

The iCAN Flagship Project has an ambitious aim to profile 15,000 tumor samples taken either at time of diagnosis or progression from patients that have provided a biobank consent.

 “Profiling includes detailed molecular analyses of changes and on how the immune system and other normal tissues react. This data is compared with other health data of the patients to identify new correlations and targets for treatment," concludes Professor Tomi P. Mäkelä from the University of Helsinki also acting as iCAN Executive Director. “We hope the new information can also be used to support other studies and decision-making at the hospital."

Further information