This Grand Challenge is led by Research Director Caroline Heckman.
Hundreds of drugs have either been approved or are being developed for cancer treatment, but understanding which cancers respond to these drugs, and in what types of combinations, is a grand challenge for the research community, the physicians treating the patients, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry. This Grand Challenge Programme was started soon after the establishment of FIMM to enable the tailoring of therapy to individual patients based on the molecular and functional properties of the cancer cells. The initial collaboration focused on hematology and now involves several other cancer types in collaboration with clinicians at the Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center. Infrastructure strengths at FIMM, such as biobanking, genomics, and high-throughput drug testing of patient-derived cancer cells, were integrated to create a globally unique, cutting-edge translational research platform.
The goal of this Grand Challenge is to simultaneously perform research that informs on the fundamental underpinnings of cancer while applying the platform in real-time to patient samples in order to generate comprehensive drug sensitivity and molecular profiles of those patients, enabling immediate translation of the research results for improved patient care.