Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the western world.

Approximately one-third of all adults will face cancer diagnosis during their lifetime, creating an urgent need for more efficient cancer therapies. The current therapies for these diseases are often insufficient, unsuccessful or not suitable for all patients. The recent burst of publicly available knowledge on genomic alterations in cancers, together with the sharp increase in targeted cancer therapies, particularly immunotherapies, have created unprecedented possibilities to rapidly identify more effective personalized cancer treatments. The aim of the Translational Cancer Biology research group, led by Academy Professor Kari Alitalo, is to contribute tio desiqn of more efficient treatment options for the personalized cancer therapy.

These new opportunities can only be translated to patient benefit if preclinical stage validation can be performed in tumor models that correctly mimic the extraordinary complexity and heterogeneity of tumors, permitting the discovery and validation of biomarker signatures that associate with the drug efficacy profiles of individual patients.

The location in the multidisciplinary Academic Medical Center Helsinki area and the wide international network make the Alitalo laboratory uniquely suited for the new discoveries. The work has led to the significant findings especially in the fields of oncogenes and angiogenesis, and some of those have been translated to clinical development. In the future, the aim is to provide additional drug candidates to advance the therapies for both cancer and cardiovascular diseases.