Medical research exploring how increased understanding of molecular mechanisms can be used to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer is strong at Umeå University with several internationally recognized research groups.

The overall infrastructure for cancer research is excellent with access to large and continuously growing and mature population based biobanks coupled with patient registries including genealogy, and to tumour and blood samples collected at diagnosis and throughout therapy. In addition, state-of-the-art core facilities for imaging of molecules and cells and experimental animal models are also available.

At Umeå University, my research group has all the research support infra-structure that we need

Pernilla Wikström is a leading cancer researcher focusing on finding biomarkers that enable early detection of prostate cancer. For an example of cancer research at Umeå University, read more about her research here and below

"While access to excellent biobank data allows us to identify potential prostate cancer biomarkers", says Pernilla Wikström, "access to experimental models allows us to test the biological significance of these potential biomarkers". 

Pernilla Wikström
Image Mattias Pettersson

Research within cancer is conducted at the following departments

Department of Molecular Biology
Department of Biobank Research

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics
Department of Medical Biosciences
Department of Radiation Science
Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience
Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences
Department of Integrative Medical Biology
Department of Nursing
Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine

Finding biomarkers that enable early detection of prostate cancer

Pernilla Wikström is a leading cancer researcher currently focusing on prostate cancer at Umeå University. A main challenge with prostate cancer, one of the most common cancer forms affecting men, is the difficulty to accurately diagnose and predict which patients really need treatment.

By studying biobank tissue and blood samples from cancer patients and healthy individuals, Wikström’s research group focuses on prostate cancer biomarkers on DNA, RNA, protein or metabolic levels, that can help distinguish aggressive tumors from indolent ones. Accurate detection could enable the development of individualized treatments, administered at an early stage and only when necessary. Wikström is concentrating at present on prostate cancer’s ability to spread to the bone, as well as the mechanisms leading to treatment resistance, which seem to differ between individuals.  Issue 10, pages 48-49

In the Spotlight at Umeå University

Misregulation of DNA building blocks associated with the development of colon cancer

When cells divide, proper balance between the four DNA building blocks is required in order for the DNA to be copied without the introduction of potentially harmful mutations. Researchers at Umeå University have now shown a connection between levels of DNA building blocks – dNTPs – and colon cancer. This discovery has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more