Significant funding for image-based cancer phenotyping

Teijo Pellinen from FIMM has received the largest grant awarded by the Instrumentarium Science Foundation in 2018.

Ph.D. Teijo Pellinen's research topic is pharmacophenomics profiling of solid cancers for the discovery of novel predictive biomarkers. He received the largest 100 000 € Instrufoundation Fellow grant from the Science Foundation in 2018. This grant is intended for experienced senior researchers to work for one year in Finland.

– Precision cancer medicine has shown limited benefits when relied solely on genomics and thus the tools employed should be broadened. Our goal is to identify novel prognostic phenotypic biomarkers that could be used in stratifying cancer patients for existing or novel therapies, explains Teijo Pellinen who works in Olli Kallioniemi’s group at FIMM.

Need for new biomarkers

Most cancers involve multiple gene mutations. There are, however, only a handful of genetic markers that are in clinical use for guiding treatment decision-making in cancers. This relates to the fact that cancer is a tremendously complex and heterogeneous disease.

The goal of Teijo Pellinen’s research is to identify novel prognostic phenotypic biomarkers that could be used in stratifying patients for existing or novel therapies.

 Pellinen utilizes systems pathology approach for phenotypic imaging of large number of cancer tissue samples. His approach is based on state-of-the-art fluorescent multiplex immunohistochemistry, digital scanners and machine learning-based image analysis tools.

The antibody panels that are used recognize many important cellular processes, such as DNA damage response, immune response and signaling, reflecting key aspects of cancer biology. The phenotypic profiling of cancer samples is done by combining information about all these features. Subsequently, the selected phenotypes are correlated with drug response profiling data.

Our preliminary results from colorectal cancer show that this project can discover novel prognostic biomarkers that could become markers for cancer therapy selection.

Teijo Pellinen's interview (in Finnish): Instrumentarium Science Foundation YouTube channel.


This year, the Instrumentarium Science Foundation awarded 950 000 € for science and research.

More information:

PhD Teijo Pellinen
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM
HiLIFE, University of Helsinki

teijo.pellinen at, tel. 050 3005688