Seeking more effective and less invasive treatments for oesophagus and stomach cancer

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Magnus Nilsson conducts research on better treatments against cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. The objective is both to make the treatments more effective and save more lives, and to make them less invasive and contribute to the quality of life of the patient. 

Magnus Nilsson. Foto: Creo Media Group.Tumours in the oesophagus and stomach are common forms of cancer in the world and have a high mortality rate. They are mainly treated with extensive surgery that often has severe side effects for the patient. Magnus Nilsson is a gastro¬intestinal surgeon and conducts research on how the treatment of oesophagus and stomach cancer can be developed to become more effective and accurate, and at the same time less invasive. 

“An important question is what the neoadjuvant treatment before the operation should look like,” Magnus Nilsson says. “Should we only give chemotherapy or combine with radiation? Should we operate directly after the preoperative treatment or might it be better to wait three months? Through a number of randomized multicentre studies, we are seeking the answers to such questions.” 

Much of the research is conducted in a Nordic network that Magnus Nilsson was involved in founding. In the latest study, the German University Hospital Cologne also participated.  Another track in Nilsson’s research concerns tools for identify¬ing different forms of oesophagus and stomach cancer. 

“We know that radiation is effective against certain kinds of oesophagus cancer, but not others,” he says. “Today, there is, however, a lack of clinically usable markers to be able to make the sorting before treatment.”

As a researcher and clinician, Magnus Nilsson is also very involved in questions about patient quality of life. An important part of this is participating in the development of less invasive surgical methods. 

“We have been involved in contributing to major changes in the area in recent years, above all through the transition to keyhole surgery, which has led to faster recovery for the patients.”

Magnus Nilsson 

Professor of Surgery at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology

Magnus Nilsson was born in Lund in 1968 and studied medicine at KI, graduating in 1992. He became a specialist in surgery in 2000 and has above all worked at Karolinska University Hospital where he is a Senior Physician at the Gastrocentrum today. He served as the Section Manager at the Gastrocentrum in 2007–2014. 

Magnus Nilsson earned his PhD at KI in 2004 and became a Docent in 2011. Since 2014, he has been Head of the Surgery Unit at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology and since 2017, Head of Department. He is also the Chairman of the Swedish Association for Upper Abdominal Surgery (SFÖAK).  Magnus Nilsson was appointed Professor of Surgery at Karolinska Institutet on 1 July 2017.

Text: Anders Nilsson, translated from Swedish, first published in “From Cell to Society” 2017.

Cancer and OncologyProfessor