Eric K. Fernström Prize for 2010 awarded to Jussi Taipale

Published 2010-11-02 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:24

[PRESS RELEASE 2010-10-26] The Eric K. Fernström Prize from Karolinska Institutet for 2010 has been awarded to Professor Jussi Taipale of the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, for his pioneering research on growth in cells and organs and what it is that goes wrong when cancer occurs.

The Prize Committee for the Fernström Prize at Karolinska Institutet has decided this year to honour Jussi Taipale for his studies on the control of cell growth.

Jussi Taipale is one of the younger, particularly promising researchers at Karolinska Institutet. We have chosen him as the winner of this year´s prize because his research is of great medical significance to understanding how genetic variation is linked to biological function and the development of cancer, says Professor Martin Ingvar, Dean of Research.

It has been known for 30 years that cell division requires the presence and influence of growth factors. It has also been known that these influence what are known as transcription factors, i.e. proteins which in turn influence the expression of genes that are necessary for cell growth and cell division. But researchers today do not know exactly how this complex process proceeds. If it becomes known what mechanisms underlie growth and cell division and what makes the body´s various organs acquire differing shapes and sizes, we will also gain a better understanding of the mechanisms behind uncontrolled cell growth in cancer.

Jussi Taipale and his research team have made considerable progress in their studies on the way in which growth factors drive the cell cycle. By using large-scale biological test methods and systems biological analysis, he has identified key genetic components that regulate cell division and gene expression in specific organs.

An important issue we are studying is why such a large number of genes are required for cancer to occur and why certain types of genes change in various forms of cancer, says Professor Taipale.

His team is studying colon cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and breast cancer.

The prize will be presented at a ceremony held in conjunction with the installation of new professors in the Berwald Hall on 3 November 2010.

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