UPM promotes innovations in cancer research via Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation

UPM promotes new innovations in disease research by making a significant donation to Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation.

The donation made by UPM is targeted especially at cancer research based on application of cell models. These models help to investigate pathogenetic mechanisms of diseases and how cancer medications work. With new cell models, it will be possible to develop even more effective treatments and cures for serious diseases in the future.

“UPM’s donation provides the Foundation with a wonderful new opportunity to support young researchers, and it reflects the increasing collaboration with corporations in cancer research and personalised medicine. This brings great opportunities to Meilahti Hospital area and, with the Comprehensive Cancer Center Finland, to the whole of Finland”, says Professor Tomi Mäkelä, Executive Manager of the Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation.

In cancer treatment, researchers continue to make successful progress. There have been promising test results in the fields of biomedicine and personalised medicine. However, there is still great demand for new information and solutions. “Innovations and responsibility are important subjects for UPM. We want to encourage and support researchers’ work via the Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation and contribute to creating new innovations in a field that has broad impact on individuals and society as a whole”, says Jyrki Ovaska, Executive Vice President of Technology at UPM.

More information:

Vice President Juuso Konttinen

UPM Biochemicals


tel. +358 40 531 7405

Professor Tomi Mäkelä

Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation


tel. +358 50 528 6128

Ongoing collaborative research projects

Image: Piia Mikkonen/FIMM

UPM has already on-going collaborations with several academic research groups. As an example, collaborative research project between the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), HiLIFE and UPM Biomedicals started in 2016. It focuses on growing patient derived cancer cell models in a three-dimensional culture using UPM’s new biomaterial, GrowDex®, and studying their drug responses.

FIMM team, led by Senior Researcher Vilja Pietiäinen from Olli Kallioniemi's group, has been able to grow patient -derived cancer cells as spheroids in GrowDex. The cell spheroids are further studied by genomics, imaged by microscope to investigate the expression of cancer biomarkers, and tested for the drug sensitivities. The ultimate aim is to understand how the cancer cells of a particular patient react to different treatments in cancer precision medicine studies.