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Uppsala to Lead Swedish Cancer Drug Resistance Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at the Uppsala University will lead an multi-institute Swedish initiative that will use exome sequencing and other 'omics approaches to study tumor samples from cancer patients to discover why some tumors are resistant to treatment and the causes of the resistance.

The university said today that it will use a grant of SEK4.5 million ($700,000) from SciLifeLab – a collaborative Swedish national center comprised of Uppsala, Stockholm University, the Karolinska Institute, and the Royal Institute of Technology – to fund the research.

The samples used in the study will come from 100 patients with cancer of the large intestine or chronic lymphatic leukemia, and will be taken and analyzed before and after treatment because it is thought that resistance may be caused by mutation-based changes that take place over time. All of the analyses for the project will be performed at SciLifeLab, and the study will include partners at the Royal Institute of Technology, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Umeå University.

“With this initiative we will have a unique opportunity to study the development of tumors up close," Tobias Sjöblom, associate professor of tumor biology at Uppsala University and director of the study, said in a statement. "Several research teams will examine the samples using different analytical methods in order to get an overall picture."

To analyze the tumors, the researcher will conduct exome re-sequencing of patient-matched tumors and in parallel will perform metabolomics and plasma proteomic analyses, Sjöblom told GenomeWeb Daily News today in an e-mail.

Sjöblom said in the Uppsala statement that the pharmaceutical industry will have a strong interest in the outcomes of research projects like this one.

“The industry will have an opportunity to assess the effect of their drugs, and we hope this will provide greater insights into how we can predict how different patients will react to a certain medicine in the future," he said.

SciLifeLab provides technologies in four major platform groups, including genomics, proteomics, comparative genetics using animal models, and bioimaging and functional biology. The labs include 15 next-generation sequencing instruments for a range of research applications, including whole genome resequencing, complete exome sequencing, de novo sequencing, targeted sequencing, transcriptome profiling, and others, according to its website.

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