Wallenberg Foundation gives SEK 53 million to research at Karolinska Institutet

Published 2012-10-05 00:00. Updated 2014-02-13 16:00Denna sida på svenska

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has announced that it will be financing three research projects at Karolinska Institutet. The foundation will be granting a total of SEK 53.3 million to research in kidney disease, cancer drugs and a new virus and bacteria atlas.

The three projects will be based in part at the Science for Life Laboratory, which is jointly run by Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.

Kidney disease

Professor Karl Tryggvason's group at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics receives SEK 16.7 million for a project designed to identify proteins and genes that cause diseases in the kidney glomerulus, the bundle of blood capillaries that helps to filter the blood. Little is understood about the molecular mechanisms of these diseases and no effective medicine is available.

"We hope to be able to learn how glomerulus function is regulated and how vital proteins integrate with each other and their surroundings," says Professor Tryggvason, coordinator of the project. "We need to understand these pathogenic mechanisms if the pharmaceutical industry is to develop effective drugs."

The project is scheduled to last three years, and is to be conducted in collaboration with Uppsala University.

Cancer drugs

Professor Thomas Helleday's group at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics receives SEK 14.2 million for a project designed to find a new type of target for the treatment of cancer. Their research is to focus on a group of proteins involved in the production of the building blocks of DNA. Earlier studies suggest that these proteins can be potential targets for a new type of cancer drug.

"Our aim is to develop a fundamental understanding of a group of as-yet unknown proteins," says Professor Helleday, coordinator of the project. "At the same time, we already have an accepted hypothesis that this protein group will benefit cancer patients within the foreseeable future."

The project is initially scheduled to last two years, and will gather a wide range of specialist researchers from several universities, including molecular biologists, chemists, structural biologists, and pharmacologists as well as clinical doctors.

Search for unknown viruses and bacteria

Professor Björn Andersson's group at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology receives SEK 22.3 million for a project designed to locate pathogenic microbes using large-scale DNA sequencing. Many people today display infection-like symptoms that are puzzling doctors, as current methods are unable to find the viruses and bacteria causing them. Microbes form part of the human microflora, and can "trigger" for example gastro-intestinal problems, skin diseases, autoimmune conditions or cancer.

"We already know that each new virus identified can soon give rise to applications such as diagnostic tools and, in the long run, drugs or vaccines," says Professor Andersson, coordinator of the project.

The project is scheduled to last five years and is to be conducted in collaboration with Uppsala University.

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Virology